Substance craving may be triggered in people recovering from substance use disorder when listening to the same music genres they had listened to during active addiction. Given the limited research on this topic, this study examined how the combination of music and drugs facilitate addiction among people with active addiction and the role of music within this phenomenon. This phenomenological study included semi-structured interviews with 36 non-active addiction participants. Content analysis was employed to reveal themes and sub-themes regarding participants’ views on the role and meaning of music during active addiction. Interview analysis revealed two main themes. The mutual enhancing effect theme relates to participants’ utilization of music in service of the drug and vice versa. This mutual enhancing effect had an impact on sharpening sensory abilities and the mood participants wanted to amplify or evoke. The full addiction and music theme relates to a timepoint during active use, when music ceased to be relevant, and drugs dominated the entire experience. Participants reported down spiraling into their abuse, seeking seclusion and feeling lonelier and more depressed. The findings are discussed in light of theories in addiction and psychology of music. Rehabilitative implications are suggested.
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- Active addiction
- Problem music
- Qualitative research
- Substance abuse disorders