LISTENING to “dangerous” music could drive young people to lapse into drug and alcohol abuse, new Australian research has found.
Positive or more soothing music could also be used as an inexpensive tool to prevent or treat substance misuse, according to the Queensland University of Technology study.
The findings will see doctors encouraged to ask young people what music they listen to following a warning that the lyrics, tempo and mode of music can have a much greater influence a vulnerable person’s behaviour than previously thought.
Researcher Dr Genevieve Dingle said being aware and strategically changing a person’s music choice could help them avoid drug and alcohol cravings, though the formula was individual and not as simple as pop songs being more healthy than heavy metal or rap.
Those most at risk of taking “club drugs” may face the biggest threat if they hear up-tempo dance music and could benefit by swapping for reggae, classical or more sedate tunes.
Those suffering depression face dangers from darker, negative music such as thrash metal and could benefit from more up-tempo beats.
“It is broader than just how it makes you feel, it might be also that it triggers cravings for substance use if that music is associated with previous use in some way,” Dr Dingle said.
“Some of the key things are tempo because that has an impact on heartbeat, its also lyrics because young people tend to take them on as messages to themselves, the sound of vocal and music quality, and whether it is in a major or minor mode which can make it feel happier or sadder music.
Two studies will be presented at the Australian Professional Society on Alcohol and Other Drugs 2013 conference today detailing the musical triggers for people in long-term drug treatment programs.
This article first appeared on ‘Herald Sun’ on 26 November 2013.