Strategies for finals and academic stress

As finals approach, many students find themselves increasingly stressed while trying to do their best academically.  In that situation, some students may find them selves doing things that inadvertently worsen their stress and academic performance.  For example, many students increase caffeine intake during finals but this might actually worsen attention (1,3).    Other students who do not have adhd might use study drugs, but this can also worsen attention (2,3).

So how can students take steps to finish strong academically?

Consider brief activity as breaks to improve focus: https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2022/04/22/brief-activity-vs-relaxation-breaks-for-energy/

Consider these other strategies to improve focus: https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2021/03/30/strategies-to-improve-attention/

Finally, take a look at this link to identify 5 things to increase, and 5 things to decrease for a successful end of semester: https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2021/03/30/strategies-to-improve-attention/

 

By R Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA

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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. https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2015/03/10/do-energy-drinks-help-or-hurt-your-attention/
  2. https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2023/06/30/smart-drugs-might-not-always-help-with-focus/
  3. Patel R. Mental Health For College Students  https://a.co/d/iXhbkAj

 

Disparities in men’s mental health

A significant disparity exists among males and health in the US, including mental health (1).

For example, in the US, about 80 % of people who die by suicide are male, at a rate that is 4x higher than females (2).

80% of males have experienced stress in the last six months (3).

65% of men said they are hesitant to seek professional help for mental health concerns such as stress, anxiety and depression (4).

Why might this be?

While there variety of factors, in 2022, a review article in the American Journal of Public Health found that men who internalized that stigma were less likely to get help for their psychological issues and more likely to face challenges and “a heightened risk for severe mental illness” (5).

What helps?

Research shows that people who are treated for depression or suicidal thoughts are far less likely to think about or attempt suicide (6).

To learn more about men’s mental health disparities go here: https://www.mhanational.org/infographic-mental-health-men

What is being done to help improve men’s mental health?

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

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. https://menshealthnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/silenthealthcrisis.pdf
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/suicide/suicide-data-statistics.html
  3. https://newsroom.clevelandclinic.org/2023/09/06/cleveland-clinic-survey-examines-the-current-state-of-mens-health-in-america/
  4. https://newsroom.clevelandclinic.org/2023/09/06/cleveland-clinic-survey-examines-the-current-state-of-mens-health-in-america/
  5. McKenzie SK, Oliffe JL, Black A, Collings S. Men’s Experiences of Mental Illness Stigma Across the Lifespan: A Scoping Review. Am J Mens Health. 2022 Jan-Feb;16(1):15579883221074789. doi: 10.1177/15579883221074789. PMID: 35125015; PMCID: PMC8832600.
  6. https://afsp.org/what-we-ve-learned-through-research/#top-10-things-we-ve-learned-from-research

Depression and Leisure time physical activity (LTPA)

About 27% of college students reported being diagnosed with depression, according to the spring 2023 American College Health Association National College Health Assessment survey (1).

A recent study looked at how depression could be impacted by leisure time physical activity as the semester progresses (2).

Who was studied? (2)

488 1st and 2nd year college students

What was the studied?

  • Depression was measured using the patient health questionnaire 9, a validated instrument to measure depression (3).
  • Leisure time physical activity was measured using the Godin-Shephard Leisure Time Physical Activity Questionnaire (4)
  • The key question asked was:  “During a typical 7-day period (a week), how many times on average do you do the following kinds of exercise for more than 15 min during your free time?” and then they respond to PA intensity related statements:
    • Vigorous-intensity LTPA (heart beats rapidly), such as running, soccer, vigorous swimming;
    • Moderate-intensity LTPA (not exhausting), such as tennis, easy swimming, folk dancing; and
    • Light-intensity LTPA (minimal effort), such as badminton, walking, yoga, bowling.

What were the results?

  • The study found that increasing light-intensity LTPA could decrease the elevation in depressive symptoms over time, regardless of initial level, when also accounting for covariances.
  • Surprisingly, vigorous and moderate intensity LTPA did not alter the depression slope as the semester progressed.

What are some caveats?

  • This is 1 small study.
  • Further research is needed.
  • Study population was College students at a university in China, which may not generalize to students in other countries.
  • Results relied on self report and may not match objective measures of activity.

Other resources:

https://ccs.osu.edu/outreach-and-education/outreach/campus-events/recess

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

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. American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment III: Reference Group Executive Summary Spring 2023. Silver Spring, MD: American College Health Association; 2023.
  2. BoShen , Gaoyuan Cui & Jin Bo (2023) How does change in leisure-time physical activity influence the growth trajectory of depressive symptoms in college students?, Journal of American College Health, DOI: 1080/07448481.2023.2252503
  3. Kroenke K, Spitzer RL, Williams JBW. The PHQ-9: validity of a brief depression severity measure. J Gen Intern Med. 2001;16(9):606–613. doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.2001.016009606.x.
  4. Godin G, Shephard RJ. Godin leisure-time exercise questionnaire. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1997;29:36–38.