Music Therapy Helps Ease Depression in Children, Adolescents With ADHD


Study results show that the therapy activates serotonin (5-HT) and improves stress-coping ability.



A study found that music therapy has positive applications as an alternative treatment for depression in children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In the study, the authors determined that participants experienced positive psychological and neurophysiological effects because the music therapy activated serotonin (5-HT) and improved participants’ ability to cope with stress.1

The authors identified 36 children and adolescents who had received a diagnosis of ADHD. The participants were divided into an ADHD control group (n = 18), which received only standard care, and an ADHD music therapy group (n = 18), which received both standard care and music therapy. The music therapy group participated in receptive music therapy (listening to music) and active music therapy (improvisation) twice a week for 50 minutes for 3 months, for a total of 24 times.1

The authors tracked changes in depression and stress rates by measuring 5-HT secretion, blood pressure, heart rate, cortisol expression, and DHQ and CDI psychological scales.1

The authors found that, in the ADHD music therapy group, 5-HT secretion increased (p < 0.001), while heart rate (p < 0.001), blood pressure (p < 0.001), and cortisol expression (p < 0.001) decreased. The DHQ and CDI psychological scales also showed positive changes at < 0.001 and < 0.01, respectively. In the ADHD control group, on the other hand, 5-HT secretion did not increase; heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol expression did not decrease; and the DHQ and CDI psychological scales did not display positive changes.1

“Indicators of the confirmed results meet the need for continuous application and the added value of use,” the authors concluded. “Additionally, it is expected that music therapy will contribute to the establishment and spread of clinical foundations through active use in the medical field.”


1. Park JI, Lee IH, Lee SJ, et al. Effects of music therapy as an alternative treatment on depression in children and adolescents with ADHD by activating serotonin and improving stress coping abilityBMC Complement Med Ther. 2023;23(1):73.

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