Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Music for the Heart: Changing the Course of Depression and Heart Failure - Depression Raises Heart Failure Risks, Study Finds - Health News | Current Health News | Medical News

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The research, based out of Intermountain Medical Center in Utah, studied a large population of 14,000 heart patients. This new research contributes to a growing body of evidence that indicates how heart patients should change their lifestyle after having a heart attack. Previous research has already linked depressed mood and depression to increasing the risk of a recurring heart attack. Stress-induced anxiety can be a major cause of depression and negative mood so it is very important to find stress-management techniques after having a heart attack. One of the most interesting findings in this new research study is that patients taking antidepressants did not reduce their risk of heart failure. This finding emphasizes the need for alternative ways to manage stress and elevate mood.

Music can be an important component of a full rehabilitation program after a patient has heart trouble. Music as an aid to relaxation is a powerful tool in developing a routine of daily relaxation. Most people listen to some kind of music, even if it is just in the car. I have found that most people are able to implement more successful and more consistent relaxation times into their busy schedules when they use music as an aid. A person's preferred music makes the time pass faster and allows the person trying to relax to take their mind off of stress-related thoughts or in getting too caught up in the process of trying to relax a tense body. Careful selection of music as an aid in relaxation can also provide musical cues that help the body gradually relax.

Music is also invaluable in effecting mood. Mood is the state or feeling you have at a particular time. We often use music to reflect our mood state. Music may reflect mood through the tempo, style and genre as well as through the lyrics. In my experience, most people automatically match their music to their current mood without thinking about it. Sometimes it is simply the lack of music that may indicate a more depressed mood if music is normally played during a happier or more relaxed state of mind. People who need to change their mood for health reasons can use music to influence their state of mind. As they examine how they have personally used music in their lives, they may discover certain times that they use music in relation to their mood . With some cognitive effort, it is then possible to match music to a current mood and then gradually change it in the direction you want your mood to follow.

Music as an aid to relaxation and as an influence on mood are two very powerful tools for helping people after a heart attack or other heart problems. Since drug therapy is not always successful in combating depression or at least decreasing the risk of recurrent heart failure, it is becoming more important that we look for alternative ways to help in rehabilitation. The following articles contain related information about music and relaxation and music for a healthy heart:

Patient Resource Page: Music Strategies for Relaxation and Wellness

Nuts and Bolts: How Music Works for Relaxation

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