Does music cause depression?

This article will discuss whether being exposed to sad songs can cause someone to get depressed. For that, the article will explain what can cause people to develop depression, and establish a connection between that and listening to music.

Along with that, the article will discuss what are the best ways for people to expose themselves to music and not damage their mental health.

Does music cause depression? 

It can be that music causes depression. It is a known fact that music can change a person’s mood. It has a great influence on how a person is feeling, and along with that, it can stimulate memory, help deal with stress and concentration.  

But when talking about depression, what needs to be highlighted is, even though music can have an impact on people’s emotions, it is still not possible to establish what comes first, music or depression. 

The question seems to be this: if music can change our mood momentarily, can it have a long-term impact on how a person feels to a point that it causes depression?

Research that analyzed how teenagers deal with music and depression, showed that teenagers that listen to music constantly have 8 times more chances to develop depression than a teenager that didn’t listen to music often. 

But there also seems to be an agreement that the way people have been dealing with music can lead to depression. Nowadays everyone has at their hand all the music they might want to hear. 

And it is extremely common to see people with headphones everywhere. This behavior can isolate people, which can be something that can lead to depression in the long run. 

Some people also develop the habit of listening to music as a form to get sleepy. What they fail to consider is how this can be detrimental to their sleep quality. And how that can affect their mental health. But in all of this, is the music to blame or the use people are making of it? 

Let’s discuss what are the main causes of depression, and how music can impact people with this mental health condition.

What are the main causes of depression?  

Depression can be caused by some factors. Although it is hard to determine what exactly made someone depressed, some factors can make it easier for them to get depressed.

A person who has a family history of depression can have a higher chance to develop depression. The same is said for people that have had a previous episode of depression. 

Depression can be caused because of an imbalance in the person’s brain chemistry. Depression can also happen because people are going through traumatic experiences. Are considered traumatic experiences: the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or even going through financial or legal problems.

But how can music affect people with depression? 

Research has shown that people with depression usually prefer sad music. And even though people would assume this is related to perpetuating their negative thoughts, that was not what the study observed.

People with depression tend to find sad music soothing and even uplifting. On the other hand, they felt disconnected and irritated when listening to upbeat songs. This goes to show how listening to sad songs can also make a person with depression feel more connected, comforted, and less alone.

While a person with depression is listening to music, they can also recollect some memories, and this can bring them some positive emotions, think of moments with their friends, and this can also help with their feelings of isolation.

How to use music positively?

Music has always been part of society. It is something that is used in parties, as part of rites of passage. It is something that ignites our emotions. Parents have always been worried about the quality and type of music their kids have been listening to. 

In the 90s there was a concern that kids could suicide when huge idols such as Kurt Cobain killed themselves. And this concern is still there. People are now questioning if music can cause people to become depressed. 

And even though the answer for that is still not clear, it is important to weigh in the benefits and the downsides of listening to music.

Music can be beneficial in many ways. It can elevate your mood and motivate you, it can improve your sense of well-being and make you feel more optimistic. It can also reduce your stress level, it can be something that makes you feel calmer and more centered.

Music also improves your focus, they can help you focus when doing the dishes or cleaning the house. It also has a relaxing effect, causing your muscles to relax and clear your mind after a stressful day. 

And even though people relate music to getting depressed, it can have the opposite effect when it takes people out of their negative thought patterns.

With all that, it is possible to affirm that music will always touch people, the depths of how each of us will be touched by it is subjective, so people should be aware of how they feel when in close contact with each type of music, and regulate their exposure to their well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Does music cause depression? 

Why can a song make me cry? 

It can happen that sometimes you are listening to a song and all of the sudden you feel a rush of emotion. When you least expect it, a tear is running down your eye. This can happen because the music you are listening to is hitting a chord in you emotionally.

Usually, songs that evoke sadness are the ones that are easier to make you cry. They are calmer songs, with a slower tempo, and diminished chords. They are like that to give you a more reflective mood.

What are the types of music that help people cope with depression? 

It seems that this type of music is important to improve people’s mental health. Classical and meditation music have higher mood-boosting benefits. While other types, such as heavy metal and techno are not beneficial, and can even be more damaging.

Music therapy, the clinical use of music interventions,  is a great way for people to cope with depression. It is a low-risk therapy that can reduce not only symptoms of depression, but anxiety as well. 

The music therapy professional sets individualized goals with each of their patients based on their needs. In music therapy, people can experience an improvement of their condition by listening, or singing to music, even playing instruments, or composing songs.

The benefits of music therapy are lower blood pressure, improved memory, and social skills. It also reduces muscle tension, manages pain, increases the sense of well-being, and allows for better self-regulation, meaning the person’s ability to manage their thoughts and emotions.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Why do I feel music so deeply? 

Some people can feel music way too deeply. This can happen in positive or negative aspects. People that feel the music too deeply tend to be the ones that usually experience emotions, such as happiness, sadness, and pain, deeply.

This happens because these people tend to be more empathetic. They feel a greater impact on the brain’s social circuit. Those people can also experience a lot more pleasure listening to music, which is indicated by a higher level of dopamine in the person’s brain.

Can people get addicted to music? 

No, people don’t get addicted to listening to music. Even though a lot of people love to hear music, and experience many benefits from it, be it emotional or physical, there is no such thing as listening to too much music.

But at some point, listening to too much music can be problematic. What happens when you rely on music to regulate your emotions. Meaning you can only deal with emotions, be it sadness or even motivate yourself if you are listening to music. 

It can also be a problem if you can’t function without music. When that is the case, you might feel the need to listen to music in inappropriate places or it distracts you from other tasks, such as a work meeting. 

Music can also be a problem when it plays a part in substance abuse. For example in raves, where teens go to listen to electronic music and tend to often use drugs. And it might be safe to do it once and a while, but many people do this as a habit, and that is when it becomes a problem.

Can people get high from listening to music?

Yes, people can get high from listening to music. When a person listens to music that is highly pleasurable to them, their brain can release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for the reward mechanism. 

This neurotransmitter is usually related to food, sex, and drugs. But even the anticipation of listening to good music can make it run through your body. Listening to good music can increase the level of dopamine by 6 to 9%. 

And although that may seem little, it is more than a person can get by food. But still, less than people would get from using cocaine. What is important to reiterate is that getting high from music is something subjective. Each person can experience that feeling when exposed to the types of songs they enjoy.

Is there a bad aspect to listening to music?

There are a few negative impacts of listening to music. If a person listens to music too loud, it can cause hearing damage. That is why it is important to take care, even more so with headphones. 

Music can also distract you when you need to do a more complex task. Although it can be great to motivate you to exercise. To do things such as studying. Some people can do that nowadays, but this can cause mild memory loss.

It can also trigger bad memories. If music has been part of a negative experience, every time you hear the song, the negative experience can come to your mind. To deal with the negative event, it might be important to go to therapy. And while treating it, it might be important to avoid exposing yourself to the song.


This article discussed if music can cause people to get depressed. Not only that, the article explained what are the main causes of depression, and how music can affect someone with depression.

Along with that, the article explained are ways people can use music to improve their emotional well-being.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write it in the section below.


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