Millennials, Music and Addiction Recovery: What’s the Connection?

Millennial Magazine - listening-to-music

Think about how you feel when you’re listening to your favorite song or a piece of music that really affects you. Think about how a melody sticks with you for the rest of the day; how the right lyrics can change your life; how it feels to be truly moved by a drumbeat or key-change. Music has a way of making everything in life melt away when you put on those headphones or turn up that radio, if only for a moment.

Recovery Unplugged Treatment Centers is using this emotional release to help people struggling with drug or alcohol addiction achieve recovery. We are the first and only addiction treatment organization to fully integrate music into our rehab model. We understand the special relationship that millennials have with music, as well as the unique substance abuse issues they face, and we have helped countless clients in this age group find their way to long-term recovery.

Recovery Unplugged has harnessed the healing power of music and synthesized it into an evidence-based and highly successful addiction treatment model. By helping clients better connect with music through passive and active techniques, we help them break down emotional barriers, identify the root causes of their substance abuse and change negative and toxic thought patterns. We have witnessed, time and again, the positive and transformative emotional impact that music-based rehab has on multiple generations of clients, specifically millennials.

Addiction Among Millennials

Millennials represent one of the fastest-growing age groups in the United States, as well as one of those most vulnerable to drug and alcohol addiction. Between problematic patterns of alcohol consumption and an urgent and pervasive pathology of painkiller abuse, individuals born between 1983 and 2002 stand firmly in the crosshairs of addiction and subsequent overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2016, nearly 35 out of every 100,000 Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 died from drug overdose, a nearly 50 percent increase from the prior year. The agency also reports that between 2015 and 2016, the death rate for people in the 25 to 34 age group rose by more than 10 percent. One recent study from the University of Michigan revealed that liver-related deaths driven primarily by alcohol consumption among people ages 25-34 have increased 65 percent from 1999-2016. The need for intuitive and effective addiction treatment among this age group is clear.

We also know that millennials connect with music in a way few other generations do. They’ve grown up with music everywhere around them, and now have the ability to access practically any song they want instantaneously. Music factors into millennials’ lives and behaviors in multiple aspects, including their travel, their politics, their consumer habits and their everyday experiences. This generation listens to music 75 percent more than baby boomers and rely more and more on music for a better and more fulfilling workday. Between the unique and specific substance abuse habits of the millennial generation and its unprecedented love affair with music, it’s only fitting that there should be a music-focused treatment paradigm to help them achieve sobriety and balanced mental health. 

The Recovery Unplugged Treatment Experience

Recovery Unplugged offers­­ a full continuum of addiction care that includes medical detox and withdrawal management, outpatient and inpatient rehab, long-term care, intervention and more. The Recovery Unplugged rehab experience includes a variety of music-focused therapeutic techniques, including listening and analysis, songwriting, performance, production and more. The program is driven by our Director of Creative Recovery and award-winning songwriter Richie Supa. Richie’s career has spanned decades, during which he’s collaborated with countless legendary artists, including Aerosmith, Pink and Ozzy Osbourne.

Our Feel-Good Friday events are led by Richie and give clients frequent opportunities to connect with emerging and established artists in the music industry who have battled substance abuse. We’ve had the opportunity to partner with some amazing artists, including Steven Tyler, rapper Flo Rida,  Ty Dolla Sign, Candlebox and more. Since our inception, Recovery Unplugged has maintained long-term success rates of five times the national average and has consistently received client satisfaction ratings over 90 percent.

Turning Up the Volume on Millennial Addiction Treatment

Millennials have diverging values and consumer habits from their generational forerunners, a face that is even reflected in their addiction recovery treatment preferences. The reality is that younger clients don’t always respond as well to traditional talk therapy. They often feel guarded, judged and unwilling to share with their treatment professionals. If a millennial was to attend a typical rehab center, the results would vary wildly. For many, attending a rehab clinic can highlight traditional methods of therapy that they cannot connect with. This further exacerbates the problem and doesn’t get to the root of the issue. The Recovery Unplugged music-based rehab experience offers intuitive emotional connection to help clients permanently move past their substance use and take back control of their lives.

What do you think?

Written by Paul Pellinger

Paul is a bestselling author, a veteran of the addiction treatment industry, a genuine music lover and one of the most sought-after speakers in the field. Under his leadership and guidance, Recovery Unplugged has been able to help thousands of people across the country overcome their addiction through the power of music.

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