Last year, the EDM (electronic dance music) industry reached a peak in industrial growth. The most recent numbers came from the 2014-2015 year which saw a drop in growth (12%). From 2013-2014, the electronic dance music industry grew an impressive 37%. In that time the number of EDM ‘festivals’ seemed to quadruple with local, small scale events happening regularly. Live music events account for the majority of the current value at nearly $7 billion.
Electronic Dance Music comes under a lot of scrutiny for its close affiliation with drugs. Psychedelics and psychoactives are renown for ‘enhancing’ the music experience. Drugs like psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and acid (LSD) are common. Most widely known is ecstasy or MDMA. MDMA is a psychoactive that primarily interacts with serotonin. Along with feelings of euphoria and the sensation of being connected or in love with the whole world come dangerous side effects. MDMA is not always pure. It can be cut with heroin, meth, crack, and other drugs. Overheating, dehydration, high blood pressure, and hypertension are the primary causes for overdose and death at EDM festivals each year. “Green amor” is a new drug being sold at EDM shows combining MDMA and crystal meth.
Death counts are startling at these shows. As recently as May, 5 people died at one EDM show in the Philippines, due to overdose and heart attack on MDMA and other drugs. July of 2014, the start of that year’s festival season, had an already reported 15 deaths.
Despite slowing growth, EDM has transformed into a global community. Now, neuroscience researchers are looking into what it is about EDM that makes the music itself addicting and how that could possibly help addicts in recovery.
Music Therapy for Addiction Treatment
Music therapy is an alternative modality used by treatment centers. Creative output plus the healing energy of sound equate to a unique application of expressive arts. Australian researchers are looking to study the neuroscience of the brain ‘on’ EDM.
Formulaically, EDM includes a build up and a ‘drop’. The researchers assign both of these parts with craving and pleasure, respectively. For most EDM fans, the music is highlighted by the drop in bass and melody. Researchers believe there is a connection between how the brain experiences craving and pleasure in the music as well as in mental disorders with cravings, such as addiction. Music is used as a therapeutic tool in emotional regulation for people with and without mental illnesses. Individualized music therapy programs could help reduce acute symptoms of craving, the researchers believe.
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