Monday, January 5, 2009

Music and Drugs

Music and Drugs. 5 January 2009 . <>

This site appears to function as a syllabus or a course website under construction. It serves as a basic introduction to the subject of music and drugs. Its five sections include: Music and the Brain, Music and Therapeutics, Music and Behaviour, Music and Pharmacovigilance, and Music and Pharmacoepidemiology. It has a very medical focus, but also calls for an interesting multidisciplinary parallel between music and pharmacology. The author introduces music as adhering to definitions of a drug. Music in this context can be thought of as provoking learning-induced neuroplasticity and many drugs can likewise modify the experience of music by changing the brain's processing of musical information. Musicotherapy is often directly associated with real drug therapy in that it stimulates emotion and pleasure. Both music and drugs are used most frequently in the following areas: anaesthesia, paediatrics, psychiatry, autism cases, and geriatrics. Music strongly affects behaviour as well, reducing anxiety, inciting groups to action, etc. Drugs influence musical activity, affecting the brain's perceptual and creative processes. Unusual psychological states like trancing can also be induced solely by music, even when no drugs are involved. Music can also have interuptive affects on cognitive functioning. Music can also reflect 'the time' and there has even been a style of blues, the Jake Walk blues, associated with a particular epidemic malady that frequently caused sufferers to drag and slap their feet in a characteristic way.

I was surprised to find that most sites on music and drugs do not contain any information on the brain. They do not seem to acknowledge that the reason that experiences of music and musical creativity are different under the influence of drugs is because of the physical affects that drugs have on our brains. I find this topic particularly interesting because music also has considerable affects on our brains, and has even been popularly referred to as a drug itself. This is especially true of recreational drugs. This site, however, deals mostly with medical and pharmacological subjects. The connection between music therapy and drug therapy is interesting. I would be interested to learn to what extent music can replace drugs in therapy. Another question would be to what extent music can replace recreational drugs in inducing unusual psychological states. In contrast to my previous post, I was surprised to see a negative affect of music listed under the section pertaining to Pharmacovigilance. Anyone can confirm that music can be very distracting, deafening, irritating and so on. People still seem to gloss this over and idealize music as positive overall. Although this is a very short and not very detailed introduction, it certainly provides several nuggets that spark interest in this topic.

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