Music does not get the recognition it deserves for helping veterans cope with PTSD
We all have our favorite songs, our favorite performers, our favorite music. What we may not realize is that as we play music, music has the power to play us. Music is a powerful tool when used to help those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and its symptoms – but it doesn’t have to be solely in a therapeutic session.
Studies show that even just listening to music and going to see shows can have a substantial effect on our quality of life. It can help us live longer, stimulate our senses, and even increase our self-worth through a shared experience. It may even help repair neurological damage. That’s the power of music. Vet Tix is working to make music and concerts more accessible to every veteran, military member, and their families.
The rise of music therapy has made a lot of headlines in the past few years, and rightly so. It’s been shown to reduce anxiety levels in intensive care patients by as much as 65%. It reduces pain levels, improves moods, and even helps build motor function in stroke patients. But its power isn’t limited to therapy. Music can play a role in coping with trauma for both individuals and communities, even if they’re simply listening to their favorite tunes.
Music has long been used as a coping mechanism for dealing with traumatic experiences, Even Plato wrote about the importance of music and medicine in “The Republic,” some 2,500 years ago. Music as a therapeutic tool is still fairly new, but studies are being done all the time. Music can force us to recall certain experiences, face the trauma, and deal with the distress in our own ways.
It has the power to help us facilitate our grieving processes and reflect on the things that ail us, all while helping us relax. We don’t all respond to music in the same way and there’s a lot more work to be done, but veterans and military members seek out Vet Tix, which has provided more than 17 million tickets since its inception in 2008. The power of show like those offered by Vet Tix lies not only in music, but in music, sports, and games as a community event.
Checking out one’s favorite band (or any band, actually) had a lot of unexpected but welcome benefits in a study conducted by behavioral scientist and University of London lecturer Patrick Fagan. Using heart rates as a measure of well-being, Fagan and his research found that just 20 minutes of checking out a “gig” could increase an individual’s well-being by 20%.
With that increase in well-being came a significant jump in one’s feelings of self-worth and their feelings of closeness to others, both of which increased by 25% after only 20 minutes. Over time, regular concert-going (around once every two weeks) saw respondents give their happiness, productivity, and self-esteem at the highest possible ratings. It may even increase life expectancy by nine years.
Those experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, struggling to cope, or having trouble reintegrating into civilian life after military service should seek help from a professional. Music, sports, and going to regular concerts is not a silver bullet to mental health. Music therapy may not even be helpful for some individuals seeking help – there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer to any mental health treatment. Music is a powerful tool in the hands of a licensed professional but it can be powerful even in our own hands.
So whether you are using music in a therapeutic context, listening to your favorite Five Finger Death Punch tracks, or have a library of vinyl, be sure to give your favorite songs a little credit where it’s due: music is an important part of our lives, makes our lives richer, more fulfilling, and, in some cases, longer.
For veterans, military members, and military families who want to make gig-going a regular part of their lives, check out Vet Tix. All you have to do is sign up with the Vet Tix site, look through the offerings to find your show, and then request tickets. All it costs is a nominal delivery fee and a few minutes – minutes that music will help you get back.