“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” This is the serenity prayer that is often chanted in unison by those struggling with addiction who attend Twelve-Step Meetings such as A.A. While drug addiction is a serious issue that shouldn’t be taken lightly, music addiction disorder aka M.A.D. seems a little extreme in comparison.
Can You Compare Music Fans to Clinical Addicts?
I’ve joked in the past about being addicted to music but in my mind, it’s not an addiction if it’s helpful to your overall well-being with little or no negative consequences. I came across the term “music addiction disorder” while doing some research for another blog article I was working on.
Even when it comes to drug or alcohol addiction there’s still quite a bit of debate as far as what constitutes “addiction” and what doesn’t.
Does it Improve or Impair Your Life?
It would be fair to say that if you have an irresistible craving to hear as much music as you can while shirking the rest of your responsibilities you might have a problem. If you spend your entire paycheck on unnecessary equipment or records, you might have a problem.
On the other hand, if you can manage to balance a strong interest in music on top of getting everything you need to done, you probably don’t have the so called M.A.D.
Disorder vs. Avid Interest
These days it seems like there’s a disorder for everything. Is biting your fingernails really a recognizable medical disorder that should be treated with therapy and medication? Maybe if the nail biter can’t stop to the point where they are literally biting past the nail, through the skin, and down to the bone.
The whole point I’m trying to make is that just because someone has a hobby or interest and spends a lot of time doing it, doesn’t mean it’s an addiction.
The definition of addiction is as follows:
Behavioral Addiction vs. Substance Use
A lot of times, addiction to behaviors get overlooked. Most people think that it can only manifest in the form of drug taking and alcohol drinking. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I would even go as far as to argue that you can become entrenched in certain emotional patterns that then become addictive patterns of thought and behavior.
For example, let’s say that your natural inclination is to get mad when someone cuts you off in traffic. This is a pretty natural response for most of us. Where it would start to become a problem is if you tried swerving over to cut them off and you flipped them the bird. This is obviously an extreme example but I think you see what I’m trying to get at.
Take it a step further and pretend that this becomes your automatic response every time anything slightly annoying happens while you’re driving to work or the coffee shop. At some point it will catch up to you and you could get ticketed for reckless driving, it could escalate to a roadside confrontation, or you could even end up crashing your vehicle because you’re so pissed off that nothing else matters.
Addiction Isn’t Limited To Substances Only
That would be an example of how someone could become entangled in negative emotional patterns which leads to negative behavior and consequence.
Not to keep ranting but unless your interest in music drives you to the point of no return as mentioned above in the case of road rage anger, you probably don’t have a diagnose-able addiction to music.
It’s Not Always Black and White
As Oscar Wilde put it, “All things in moderation, including moderation”. Music, emotions, and even certain drugs have positive effects on the brain. To say that they’re either all bad or all good isn’t fair.
I will be writing an article in the future about the positive effects of music on the brain so be sure to stay tuned for that.
Take This With a Grain of Salt
Don’t feel bad about taking this with a grain of salt because I’m no psychologist or doctor of medicine.
Another thing I will say is that you don’t have to be a psychiatrist or psychologist to be able to recognize negative consequences/patterns.
Crank the Volume All The Way Up!
For now, turn the volume all the way up on your music, unless it’s 3 am and your neighbors decide to file a noise complaint… See, that would be a negative consequence in relation to your love for music.
Responsible adults usually make responsible choices and the same applies here.
I think by now you’re beginning to understand my perspective on what some have called a music addiction disorder. I think you might have M.A.D. yourself if you can’t stand listening to music and don’t do it consciously at least once a day.
It’s been fun and I hope you got as much enjoyment reading this as I did writing it. As usual, if you decide to comment with your thoughts I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible. I always enjoy hearing from readers.