Maximizing Spring Break for mental health

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

  • Many college students look forward to the month of March and spring break, as a way to take time off from school and relax, to recharge for the second half of the spring semester, etc.
  • There are healthy and unhealthy options to keep in mind when considering a rejuvenating spring break.
  • This is important because unhealthy choices during spring break could create more problems for the rest of the semester.

What are unhealthy spring break patterns to avoid?

  • Excessive alcohol, including short term, binge drinking, has been shown to impact brain functioning (1 ), and grades (2), depression (3 ), increased risk of sexual assault (4 ). this can also increase your anxiety for the weeks and months to follow.

Low risk drinking recommendations can be found here (17 )

  • Cannabis use can worsen depression and suicidal ideation (5 ), brain functioning (6,7 ), sleep (8) and anxiety (8 ).
  • Sleep deprivation can impact academic performance (9, 10 ).
  • Consider minimizing caffeine intake since excessive caffeine intake can impact stress (11), and sleep (12, 13).

What are healthy spring break options to consider?

  • Catch up on sleep.
  • Rest your brain. If you’ve been studying intensely, reading, writing, analyzing, etc. it may be useful to rest those areas of the brain by doing different types of activities.
  • Minimize screen time, if possible. If you’ve spent a lot of time doing schoolwork on your computer, it may be useful to rest that part of your brain by doing different types of activities that don’t involve screens.
  • Eat well to fuel yourself properly and for optimal mental health. Examples include plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, lean meats, etc. (14). This might also enhance recovery.
  • If you’ve spent a lot of time indoors, spending time outside, safely and to a point may be helpful for mental health ( 15, and 16).
  • Reduce isolation by spending time with others, if possible.
  • Other options include hiking/camping/other activities in nature, playing recreational sports, traveling to museums, art exhibits, beaches, shows, etc.
  • You might improve your mental health by doing something good in the community where you travel through programs like BUCK-I-SERV, and other service trips, etc. (18)

Tips on how to stay safe during spring break:

  • Since the number one cause of death in young adults is accidents, it may be wise to minimize/avoid high risk-hazardous activities (19).
  • Very useful link for Travel safety tips for spring break (20).

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References:

  1. Zeigler DW, Wang CC, Yoast RA, Dickinson BD, McCaffree MA, Robinowitz CB, et al. The neurocognitive effects of alcohol on adolescents and college students. Prev Med. 2005;40:23–32.
  1. https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2014/09/12/does-alcohol-use-impact-your-grades/
  2. Boden JM1, Fergusson DM. Alcohol and depression. Addiction. 2011 May;106(5):906-14. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03351.x. Epub 2011 Mar 7.
  1. https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2015/10/21/study-alcohol-impacts-sexual-assault/
  2. Gobbi G, Atkin T, Zytynski T, et al. Association of Cannabis Use in Adolescence and Risk of Depression, Anxiety, and Suicidality in Young Adulthood: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online February 13, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.4500
  3. Doss MK et al. Δ9-Tetrahydrocannibinol at retrieval drives false recollection of neutral and emotional memories. Biol Psychiatry 2018 May 9; [e-pub]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2018.04.020.
  4. Schuster RM, Gilman J, Schoenfeld D, et al. One month of cannabis abstinence in adolescents and young adults is associated with improved memory. J Clin Psychiatry. 2018;79(6):17m11977 .
  5. Hser YI, Mooney LJ, Huang D, et al. Reductions in cannabis use are associated with improvements in anxiety, depression, and sleep quality, but not quality of life. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2017;81:53-58.
  6. http://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2017/12/31/poor-sleep-and-poor-grades-might-go-together/
  7. Phillips AJK, Clerx WM, O’Brien CS, et al. Irregular sleep/wake patterns are associated with poorer academic performance and delayed circadian and sleep/wake timing. Scientific Reports.                2017;7:3216. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-03171-4.
  1. http://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2017/04/19/study-caffeine-stress-and-brain-function/
  2. T. Roehrs, T. Roth. Caffeine: sleep and daytime sleepiness. Sleep Med Rev, 12 (2) (2008), pp. 153–162.
  3. 13. H.P. Landolt, E. Werth, A.A. Borbely, D.J. Dijk. Caffeine intake (200 mg) in the morning affects human sleep and EEG power spectra at night. Brain Research, 675 (1–2) (1995), pp. 67–74.
  4. http://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2018/06/28/food-choices-to-improve-depression/
  5. Avery DH, Kouri ME, Monaghan K, Bolte MA, Hellekson C, Eder D. Is dawn simulation effective in ameliorating the difficulty awakening in seasonal affective disorder associated with  hypersomnia? J Affect Disord. 2002 May;69(1-3):231-6.
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm
  7. http://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2018/02/26/alcohol-and-grades/
  8. http://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2017/11/22/mental-health-benefits-of-volunteering/
  9. https://www.cdc.gov/family/springbreak/index.htm
  10. https://www.limcollege.edu/safety/are-you-prepared/spring-break

 

 

 

 

Study: Impact of Cannabis on Alcohol

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

As of 2015, about 22 million individuals in the United States reported using cannabis / marijuana in the last month (1). In 2011, almost 70 million Americans reported binge drinking in the last month ( binge drinking defined by the survey as 5 or more drinks on one occasion) (2).

Some individuals may consider marijuana use as they are reducing alcohol use. A recent study looked at how cannabis use might impact alcohol use.

What was the study? (3)

1,383 newly abstinent alcohol dependent individuals were  participating in a multi-site randomized control trial for treatment options of alcohol use disorder in the landmark COMBINE study (4-5).

Researchers compared alcohol use among those who used cannabis versus those who did not use cannabis.

What were the study results?

The authors (3) found that compared to no cannabis use, ANY cannabis use during treatment for alcohol use disorder was related to LESS alcohol abstinence at end of treatment.

They found that each additional day of cannabis use was associated with approximately 4–5 fewer days of abstinence from alcohol (3).

In this study, cannabis use impacted how often the participants drank, but not how many drinks they had (3).

Further study in this area is needed.

What does this mean?

This study suggests that it may not be a good idea to use cannabis if you are trying to abstain from alcohol.

What are some useful resources regarding cannabis?

Drug treatment group at OSU Office of Student Life Counseling and Consultation Service.

Treatment Facilities Here in Columbus

 

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.

References:

  1. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 16-4984, NSDUH Series H-51). 2016. http://www.samhsa.gov.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/data/
  2. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Behavioral health trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 15-4927, NSDUH Series H-50); 2015.
  3. Subbaraman, M. S., Metrik, J., Patterson, D., and Swift, R. (2016) Cannabis use during treatment for alcohol use disorders predicts alcohol treatment outcomes. Addiction, doi: 10.1111/add.13693.
  4. Anton R. F., O’Malley S. S., Ciraulo D. A., Cisler R. A., Couper D., Donovan D. M.et al. Combined pharmacotherapies and behavioral interventions for alcohol dependence: the COMBINE study: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2006; 295: 20032017.
  5. Combine Study Research Group. Testing combined pharmacotherapies and behavioral interventions in alcohol dependence: rationale and methods. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2003; 27: 11071122.

Study: Alcohol impacts sexual assault

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

More attention is being given to preventing sexual assault at many colleges across the nation.

While this is a complex issue with many factors, this study suggests that students might be able to reduce their risk of sexual assault by reducing or avoiding alcohol or situations that involve alcohol.

What did the study involve?
• 1,197 students completed an online survey.
• The study authors looked at substance use by both the victim and perpetrator at the time of sexual assault.

What did the results show?
Substance use (including alcohol) was more common for both victims and perpetrators.

Of the students reporting sexual assault or forced sexual touching:
• At least 70% reported they were drinking alcohol at the time.
• At least 70% reported that perpetrators were drinking and/or drug use during incidents of sexual assault or rape.

How much alcohol was consumed by those who had the most harm in terms of sexual assault?

-Among victims 40 % females and 60% of males binge drank at least once per week over 3 months.
-Among victims, most of the study participants drank less than 20 drinks per week.

What do the results suggest?
• Substance use is often involved in both the perpetrators and victims of sexual assault.
• This study suggests that students might be able to reduce their risk of sexual assault by reducing or avoiding alcohol or situations that involve alcohol.

What are some caveats?
• Sexual assault is a complex issue with many factors involved.
• This is just 1 of many studies on the issue of alcohol and sexual assault.
Resources:

•General Information:

o CCS: Sexual Violence Self Help Page

sexual violence resource-wheel-bisg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Reporting sexual assault allegations or information at OSU:

o Title IX coordinator by emailing titleix@osu.edu; sexualharrasment@osu.edu or Office of Human Resources (614-292-2800).
o Deputy Title IX coordinator by calling 614-292-0748 or emailing studentconduct@osu.edu at the Office of StudentLife, Student Conduct Department.

• Seeking help after sexual assault:

o ccs.osu.edu Counseling for OSU students.

oSexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO) | (614) 267-7020 Hospital and hotline advocates.
o OSU Campus Police | Call 911 for emergencies | (614) 292-2121 Making an official report & safety planning
o Columbus Police | Call 911 for emergencies | (906) 645-4545 Assists in making an official report and safety planning
o OSU Wexner Medical Center | Call 911 for emergencies | (614) 293-8333 Can provide medical care, evidence collection, STI, pregnancy and drugged drink testing. Seek medical attention and/or evidence collection if the violence/sexual assault occurred within the last 72 hours. A specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner is usually available, and an advocate will be called to assist you.

 Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.
References:
1. Elizabeth Reed, Hortensia Amaro, Atsushi Matsumoto, Debra Kaysen . The relation between interpersonal violence and substance use among a sample of university students: Examination of the role of victim and perpetrator substance use. Addictive Behaviors 34 (2009) 316–318