Alcohol and Grades

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

Almost 2 out of 3 college students reported binge drinking of alcohol in the last 30 days (1).
Adults ages 18 to 29 years had the highest proportion of people with alcohol disorders (2).

In the United States, a standard drink is defined as (12):
• 12 ounces of beer with 5 percent alcohol content
• 5 ounces of wine with 12 percent alcohol content
• 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits with 40 percent alcohol content

What is high risk drinking?
High risk, heavy drinking, or binge drinking, defined as 5 or more drinks on one occasion, can impact academics (3, 4, 5).
It is also related to:
• Academic problems (6)
• Fewer study hours (5,7)
• Lower reported grades (8)

How does heavy drinking impact your academic performance?
• Frequent heavy drinking is related to:
• Increased sleepiness (4)
• Disrupted sleep (4)
• Disrupted learning (9)
• Disrupted memory (9)
• Increased social and emotional problems over time (10)
These factors might cause you to miss classes, deadlines, or perform poorly.

What is low risk drinking?

 

 

https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/How-much-is-too-much/Is-your-drinking-pattern-risky/Whats-Low-Risk-Drinking.aspx

Low risk DOES NOT mean no risk.
For some people a lower cutoff may be more beneficial.

Who should avoid alcohol?
It’s safest to avoid alcohol altogether if you are:
• Taking medications that interact with alcohol (11)
• Managing a medical condition that can be made worse by drinking (11)
• Underage (11)
• Planning to drive a vehicle or operate machinery(11)
• Pregnant or trying to become pregnant (11)
You should also avoid alcohol if you have a family history of addiction because of increased genetic risk of addiction.

Where can you learn more about alcohol?
How much is too much, strategies for cutting down, quitting can be found here:
https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/Thinking-about-a-change/
http://www.ccs.osu.edu/self-help/alcohol/
• Take the OSU Free Anonymous Mental health Screen

From what I have seen in practice and research, as we learn more about the impact of alcohol, the amount of alcohol that is considered safe continues to be lower than previously thought.

Are you regularly drinking too much alcohol? How is it impacting your academic, emotional and physical health?

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.  SAMHSA. 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Table 6.89B—Binge Alcohol Use in the Past Month among Persons Aged 18 to 22, \HWVGFGHNSDUH-DetTabs2014/NSDUH-DetTabs2014.htm#tab6-89b 

2. Turrisi R, Larimer ME, Mallett KA, Kilmer JR, Ray AE, Mastroleo NR, et al. A randomized clinical trial evaluating a combined alcohol intervention for high-risk college students. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2009;70:555–67.

3. El Ansari W, Stock C, Mills C. Is alcohol consumption associated with poor academic achievement in university students? Int J Prev Med (2013) 4(10):1175–88. 

4. Singleton RA, Jr, Wolfson AR. Alcohol consumption, sleep, and academic performance among college students. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2009;70:355–63. 

5. Wolaver AM. Effects of heavy drinking in college on study effort, grade point average, and major choice. Contemp Econ Policy. 2002;20:415–28.

6.  Wechsler H, Dowdall GW, Maenner G, Gledhill-Hoyt J, Lee H. Changes in binge drinking and related problems among American college students between 1993 and 1997. Results of the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study. J Am Coll Health. 1998;47:57–68. 

7. Webb E, Ashton CH, Kelly P, Kamali F. Alcohol and drug use in UK university students. Lancet. 1996;348:922–5. 

8. Engs RC, Diebold BA, Hanson DJ. The drinking patterns and problems of a national sample of college students. Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education. 1996;41:13–33.

 9. 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.

10. Crosnoe R, Benner AD, Schneider B. Drinking, socioemotional functioning, and academic progress in secondary school. J Health Soc Behav. 2012;53:150–64.

11. https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/How-much-is-too-much/Is-your-drinking-pattern-risky/Whats-Low-Risk-Drinking.aspx

12. The National Institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/collegefactsheet/Collegefactsheet.pdf

 

 

 

Poor sleep and poor grades might go together

College students might stay up late or have an erratic sleep schedule for a variety of reasons.

A recent study looked at the impact of sleep pattern on grades.

Who was studied? (1,2)

  • 61 undergraduate students at Harvard college
  • They were asked to keep a sleep diary for 30 days.

What did the investigators find? (1,2)

Compared to peers, students reporting irregular patterns of sleep and wakefulness had:

  • Lower grade point averages.
  • Delays in the times people went to bed and woke up compared to more normal sleep/wake times.
  • Upto 3 hour delay in melatonin (sleep related hormone) release compared to students with regularly scheduled sleep and wakefulness pattern.

What are some caveats?

  • Poor sleep can impact almost every aspect of health and many parts of brain functioning, including learning, remembering, mood, energy level, decision making, etc.
  • This is a small study and does not prove cause-and-effect (2).
  • Students with erratic sleep schedules ended up sleeping the same number of hours as those with a regular sleep schedule. (1,2).
  • Study participants might have an erratic sleep schedule for a variety of reasons.

What are some ways of improving sleep?

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests the following ways to improve sleep (3):

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
  • Plan to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
  • If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
  • Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature.
  • Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings.
  • Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime. If you are hungry at night, eat a light, healthy snack.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
  • Avoid consuming caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime.
  • Reduce your fluid intake before bedtime.

Anything else?

  • Some people may need to eliminate caffeine or alcohol completely.
  • If you have to use electronics in the evenings, consider BLUEBLOCKERS.

Consider seeking professional help:

OSU Counseling and Consultation Service

OSU Wilce Student health center

https://ccs.osu.edu/self-help/sleep/

How is your sleep? How are your grades?

By R. Ryan 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://consumer.healthday.com/sleep-disorder-information-33/misc-sleep-problems-news-626/poor-sleep-habits-61-poor-grades-723563.html
  2. 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.
  3. http://www.sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/healthy-sleep-habits

 

Study: Alcohol might cause brain changes

In a recent national survey of over 30,000 college students, almost 2 out of 3 college students reported using ANY alcohol in the last 30 days (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).

In some people, alcohol can impact emotional health by altering important brain chemicals involved in regulating mood, anxiety.

A previous post looked at the impact of alcohol on grades (3), and alcohol’s impact on sexual assault (4). A recent study looked at the impact of alcohol on brain health (5).

Who was studied? (5)

  • 550 men and women with mean age 43.0, were followed weekly over a 30 year time period.
  • None of the participants had alcohol dependence at the beginning of the study.
  • What was measured? (5)
  • Alcohol intake and cognitive performance were measured on a weekly basis.
  • Multimodal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed at the end of the study (2012-15).Even after adjusting for various factors:

What were the results? (5)

  • In this study, higher alcohol consumption over 30 years was associated with higher odds of hippocampal atrophy.
  • Even those drinking moderately (14-21 units/week) had 3x higher odds of right sided hippocampal atrophy.
  • In this study, there was NO protective effect of light drinking (1-<7 units/week) over abstinence.
  • Higher alcohol use was also associated with differences in corpus callosum microstructure and faster decline in lexical fluency (selecting and retrieving information based on spelling).

What does this mean? (5)

  • Hippocampus changes are implicated in Alzheimer’s disease (6) and depression (7)
  • Alcohol consumption might also impact lexical fluency (selecting and retrieving information based on spelling) (5)
  • Caution is advised even with long term non dependent use of alcohol.

What are some caveats?

  • This is a single, small study of middle age adults in a small region, which limits generalization world wide.
  • Participants could not be randomized.
  • Further study is needed.

Where can I learn more about alcohol?

How much is too much, strategies for cutting down, quitting can be found here:

From what I have seen in research, the amount of alcohol that is considered safe continues to be lowered as we learn more about the impact of alcohol.

Are you regularly drinking alcohol?  How is it impacting your emotional and physical health?

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 II: Reference Group Executive Summary Fall 2016. Hanover, MD: American College Health Association; 2017.
  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. https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2014/09/12/does-alcohol-use-impact-your-grades/
  4. https://u.osu.edu/emotionalfitness/2015/10/21/study-alcohol-impacts-sexual-assault/
  5. Topiwala Anya, Allan Charlotte L, Valkanova Vyara, Zsoldos Enikő, Filippini Nicola, Sexton Claire et al. Moderate alcohol consumption as risk factor for adverse brain outcomes and cognitive decline: longitudinal cohort study BMJ 2017; 357 :j2353.
  6. McKhann GM, Knopman DS, Chertkow H, et al. The diagnosis of dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease: recommendations from the National Institute on Aging-Alzheimer’s Association workgroups on diagnostic guidelines for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimers Dement2011;357:263-9.
  7. Masi, G. & Brovedani, P. CNS Drugs (2011) 25: 913. doi:10.2165/11595900-000000000-00000.  The Hippocampus, Neurotrophic Factors and Depression.