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Music Row and Mental Health: Depression in the Music Industry

Depression in the Music Industry

Music Row, home to Nashville’s country and western music scene, is filled with neon lights, stringed instruments, and cowboy boots. It may appear sparkly on the surface, but behind the curtain, many singers, musicians, and individuals in the music industry, like producers or directors, face depression. Because of the fast-paced lifestyle in the limelight, many people in the industry don’t recognize mental health concerns and are unaware of treatment options.

Depression in the Music Industry

The music industry can be an exciting and thrilling environment to work in, with its perks and notoriety. Still, it can also be demanding and grueling at times. Singers, musicians, producers, directors, and other individuals involved in the music business face challenges that make the job more difficult. These hardships can not only make the job unenjoyable, but they can begin to affect day-to-day life. 

Hardships in the music industry include:

  • Depression. Depression is as prevalent in the music industry as it is in any other industry, maybe even more so. The glitz and glamor don’t shield you from depression or other mental health issues. Record Union, a Swedish-based digital distribution platform, released a study of musicians and other individuals involved in the industry. Of 1,500 responses, 73% reported facing mental health concerns like depression. 
  • Long Hours. Working late nights and long weekends begins to eat away at your personal time, which doesn’t allow for outside enjoyment like hanging with friends or simply getting rest. Fame doesn’t take time off. 
  • Lack of Work-Life Balance. An equal work-life balance improves mental health and allows you to enjoy more of life than constantly working, but most people in the music industry don’t have this type of balance. You spend all your time on your career — either launching it or maintaining it. You have little private life or time.
  • Fear of Failure. Everyone wants to be great at what they do, but it’s easy to forget that to grow and learn, sometimes you have to fail. Having a fear of failure can pressure you into seemingly insurmountable stress. In the music industry, you can quickly go from on top to irrelevant, and that’s constantly in the back of your mind.
  • Criticism. Criticism allows the chance to understand a different perspective and seek improvements. While it may be rewarding, it’s difficult not to fear hard criticism. People think everything you do is open to comment and criticism when you’re a celebrity. They seem to forget that there’s a person behind your music.
  • Lack of Control of Work. People who feel their life or work is out of control can face stresses that make life seem a bit too much. Creating a sense of stability is essential in any healthy environment, but it’s difficult to do in the music industry, where you want to achieve everything you can to be and stay on top.
  • No Privacy. You knew that being a high-profile person would mean you were almost always in the public light, but that still doesn’t prepare you for the lack of privacy that can come with fame. The greater your notoriety, the less able you are to do anything people aren’t aware of and comment on.
  • Drugs and Alcohol. Substance use can lead to addiction, financial insecurity, job loss, and homelessness, all of which can impact your mental health. It can also create an environment of blurred decisions and quick actions that may affect your life forever. The music industry is ripe with excess. Drug and alcohol use is rampant.

“Being a celebrity or in a high-profile industry doesn’t mean those people are immune to mental health issues. Living what many people consider a dream comes with a lot of pressure and unique circumstances that can exacerbate mental health issues,” said Kimberly Watson, TMS Treatment Coordinator for Integrative NeuroLife Center. “People in the music industry also must be aware of symptoms of mental health concerns and able to seek help from qualified mental health professionals.”

Symptoms of Depression

When looking through the public’s eye, the music industry is full of roaring fans, road tours, and fame. But people often don’t realize that being a celebrity doesn’t mean being superhuman. People in the music industry face mental health concerns like depression despite job titles. 

Singers and musicians get caught up in creating the next sold-out show or strumming the right cord, but you don’t take time to recognize symptoms of mental health concerns within themselves. You may even brush off symptoms as being expected or part of the price of fame. Here are some symptoms you can look for that may signify a need to talk with a mental health professional.

Depression symptoms include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness 
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities and hobbies 
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, or speaking or moving more slowly 
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions 
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite or weight changes 
  • Irritability
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems 
  • Thoughts of death or suicide or self-harm 

While these symptoms are frightening, there are treatment options that can help minimize or eliminate those feelings, thoughts, or actions. 

“Depression is a serious illness that is unlikely to just go away,” Kimberly said. “Treatment is available to help you live the life you deserve.”

TMS Therapy

There are many treatment options for musicians who face depression, including breathing techniques, therapy, journaling, and sometimes medication. Speak with a mental health professional about your symptoms and ask what might work for you. Privacy shouldn’t be an issue with a medical professional. One fast and effective treatment option to consider and ask your provider about is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). 

What is TMS?

TMS Therapy activates areas of the brain that are underactive because of depression. It’s a proven, non-drug method of treating Major Depressive Disorder in adult patients (18 to 65 years old) when antidepressants aren’t successful. 

How TMS Works

For TMS treatment at Integrative Neurolife Center, you recline in a chair while a medical professional uses the NeuroStar® machine to deliver focused magnetic stimulation directly to the target areas of the brain. The treatment is delivered through sensors placed on your head.

Treatment takes less than 20 minutes a session. During the session, you may remain quiet, talk to the medical professional administering the treatment, or listen to music or a podcast. It’s your choice. You have treatments five days a week for six weeks for 30 treatments. Some insurance policies cover TMS, but you need a referral from a doctor or mental health professional for the treatment.

TMS is free from the side effects of medications. The most common side effect of TMS is temporary mild to moderate pain or discomfort at or near the treatment site on your head. Some patients also experience headaches following the initial session but quickly adjust. 

TMS Therapy is non-invasive and allows clients to resume daily activities immediately following treatment sessions. 

Integrative Neurolife Center has measured a 70% decrease in client symptoms following the 30 treatments.

How ILC Can Help

Working on Music Row can be invigorating but also tolling. Depression can be frightening and sometimes lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. Integrative Life Center has many options to help combat depression, such as evidence-based, adventure, and experiential therapies. We also provide TMS therapy at our sister clinic, Integrative Neurolife Center. Contact ILC today to discover the best treatment option and start your healing journey.

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