Research from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, and McGill University now proves that music that we find pleasurable releases a dopamine high. Dopamine is the biochemical involved in feelings of intense euphoria and happiness. Dr Robert Zatorre of McGill University says that this is the first time that an “abstract” event has been scientifically proven to elicit the dopamine high.
Teens and young people are unlikely to want to use recreational drugs and be in need of drug addict help, when their lives are enriched and they feel satisfied by getting a natural dopamine high.
This research, that is published in the journal, Nature Neuroscience, has shown that getting a natural dopamine high with music starts with the anticipation of hearing music that we know we will enjoy. Music has a profound effect on our cognitive and motor systems, and also affects our emotions through stimulating the limbic pathways of the body.
Dopamine release is traditionally associated with those activities that are essential to life. It is well known that our “reward” system responds to the presence of food and sexual stimuli, yet everyone will have experienced, from time to time, one of those breathtaking moments of sheer pleasure that occur with events such as beautiful sunsets, inspiring scenery or viewing an exceptionally fine work of art.
Children who are given an opportunity, from an early age, to connect with their environment, and be open to new discoveries will find pleasure in many things, both familiar and new. Children today who feel listless, bored and unable to function without the support of energy drinks, stodgy food, and the ubiquitous i-technology have lost to some extent their natural vigor and capacity for real enjoyment of life and getting a natural dopamine high.
Music as a source of pleasure does not need to come surrounded by an audio player, engraved upon a disc. Young people can be instrumental in the creation of music and resonant harmonics given only the basic equipment of percussion, wind and strings, making music that is their own, and in tune with their culture. Modern day popular music is very much geared to sexual themes, the “bottled” product of an industry that is profit motivated and heavily promoted. Attempts by children to be creative and inventive, making a joyful noise, are likely today to be severely repressed as being disruptive and disorderly.
In former times, song and dance, music and feasting was a natural part of life, with seasonal festivities that everyone would join in with, rather than the structured entertainment venues that today separate the performers from a passive audience.
Interestingly, the latest single on Crown Royyal’s Royyal Flush album is called “Dopamine”, so perhaps science is to some extent confirming what we already know – music can make you high.
Music is said to be as good as sex for some, and for those who find in drug use a “high” equivalent to sexual pleasure, it could be that we need to re-think our overdependence on drugs as the answer to feelings of anxiety, tension and general stress.
Using the best headphones, and our favorite playlist, instead of reaching for drugs, is a healthy option for dopamine release.
People with a drug addiction, and in need of drug addict help can consider music as another string to their bow when using a natural comprehensive addiction recovery program to get free of drug abuse.