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Study Shows Drumming Enhances Addiction Recovery

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Drumming enhances addiction recovery by inducing relaxation,

helping patients rebuild their emotional health through self-

expression, and better connect with themselves and others.

Drumming has been shown to help heal those struggling with grief and trauma, teach people with disabilities basic learning and life skills, and strengthen communities. According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2003, drumming can also enhance recovery from addiction when used as complementary therapy to addiction treatment.


Using various methods of research, study researcher and author Michael Winkelman, PhD, MPH, found that drumming can help people recover from addiction through relaxation and natural altered states of consciousness that act as a substitute for drug-induced highs and by allowing people in recovery to feel pleasure, become aware of memories and emotions, and release emotional trauma.

Drumming allows people recovering from addiction to rebuild their emotional health and address issues of violence, conflict, and anger through self expression and the release of emotions. Winkelman also found that through drumming, people in addiction treatment were able to reduce self-centeredness and isolation and better connect with themselves and others. Drumming also provides a non-religious approach to accessing a higher power, a common aspect of substance abuse and addiction recovery.

After reviewing his results, Winkelman believes that drum circles should be considered as a complement to addiction treatment, especially for those who repeatedly relapse or when other forms of therapy don’t work. Read Winkelman’s full study, “Complementary Therapy for Addiction: ‘Drumming Out Drugs,’” at the American Journal of Public Health.

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