Helpful Ideas for Transitioning/Adjusting to College

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” ― Benjamin Franklin (1)

 

Each fall, millions of young adults across the country leave home to start college.

For many, this is an exciting time, but for others, adjusting to the university environment can be quite stressful.

Some factors impacting this including living on your own for the first time, and managing your own schedule and social support and college life and other responsibilities all occurring at the same time.

The key may be to plan ahead.

What are some helpful steps to ease the transition to College?

The American Psychiatric association suggest these 5 tips for reducing stress during the college transition (2):

  • Become familiar with campus ahead of time
  • Get involved on campus activities.
  • Before the school year starts, proactively plan a visit home.
  • Figure out a way to stay connected with your support system.
  • Establish a health care provider before starting the school year.

Where can I learn more?

The Jed Foundation has numerous articles on successful transition to college:

What are some helpful campus resources?

 

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. Franklin B. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Norton Critical Edition. (Chaplin J). New York: W. W. Norton; 2012
  2. https://www.psychiatry.org/news-room/apa-blogs/apa-blog/2016/08/5-tips-for-reducing-stress-during-transition-to-college

Study: Play and Leisure’s impact on mood, stress, and wellbeing

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

As the semester advances, students face increasing stress; which can impact your mental health, and academic performance.

A recent study looked at the role of leisure activities on stress management, mood, and improving well being (1).   This could improve  your academic performance.

What exactly is “leisure activities”?

  • One definition of leisure is “Leisure activities are generally self-selected, self-rewarding behavioral pursuits that take place during non-work time” (1,2,3).
  • A different way of looking at leisure might be play. One definition play is: “Engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose” (4).
  • Dr Stuart Brown(5) identified 8 different categories of play, such as explorer, joker, competitor, artist, craftsman, storyteller, performer, director.

What was the study? (1)

  • 115 adults who were working full time were asked 6 times per day for 3 days, about their involvement in leisure, exercise, and social interactions along with their mood, interest, and stress (1).
  • Their stress hormone (cortisol) levels and heart rate were also measured (1).

What were the results? (1)

When participants engaged in leisure they reported (1):

  • More happiness, more interest.
  • Less sadness, less stress, and lower heart rate.

The results were similar when the participants exercised, and even after accounting for social interaction(1); but the exercise group had lower levels of cortisol (stress hormone).

Benefits lasted for hours after the activities.

Different people might benefit from different types of play. What type of play is best for you?

Are there any campus resources on play?

 

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. Zawadzki, M.J., Smyth, J.M. & Costigan, H.J. ann. behav. med. (2015) 49: 605. doi:10.1007/s12160-015-9694-3
  2. Iso-Ahola SE. Basic dimensions of definitions of leisure. J Leis Res. 1979; 11: 28-39.
  3. Manfredo MJ, Driver BL, Tarrant MA. Measuring leisure motivation: A meta-analysis of the recreation experience preference scales. J Leis Res. 1996; 28: 188-213.
  4. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/play  Accessed 9/27/16.
  5. Stuard Brown MD, Christopher Vaughn. Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul Paperback – April 6, 2010. Avery publishing. ISBN-13: 978-1583333785

 

 

Study: Could Social Media Use Increase Depression?

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

Social media is often used by many students and can have many benefits, including positive feelings.

A recent study suggests that social media might worsen depressive symptoms.

Who were the study participants?

  • 1,787 adults ages 19 to 32 were surveyed about social media use and depression.
  • About 50 % of the students were female, and 57% of the participants were white.

What was asked in the study?

  • Participants were asked about:
    • Total time per day spent on social media
    • Social media visits per week
    • And a global frequency score based on the Pew Internet Research Questionnaire.
  • Depressive symptoms were measured by using the PROMIS scale.

How was social media defined in the study?

  • Social media sites included use of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, Snapchat, and Reddit.

What were the study results?

  • The study found that social media use was associated with higher scores of depression, even after adjusting for other variables.
  • Depressive scores increased with more time spent on social media, ranging from 30-135 minutes per day.
  • Depressive scores increased with more sites visited per week, ranging from 6-17 visits per week.

What are some caveats?

  • This study used a survey which tells us about snapshot in time but does not tell us about cause and effect.
  • Standard measure of social media use has not been established.
  • Other studies have found mixed results (2,3,4,5) and further study is needed.
  • Investigators asked about depressive symptoms but not Major depression.
  • Various social media sites are working on ways to reach at risk students that are using social media (1,6,7).
  • While this study looked at risks, there may be benefits to using social media as well.

How do you feel after using social media? Are you feeling depressed? Are you spending a lot of time on social media? Are you falling behind in other aspects of your life?

What are some strategies that help with depression?

  • Don’t isolate from family, friends, or colleagues and get involved on campus
  • Consider counseling at OSU-CCS.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet of protein/veggies/fruit/whole grains, Omega 3’s
  • Talk to your doctor about various treatment options such light therapy, medication, etc.
  • A well balanced exercise program (check with your doctor first)

What are some of OSU’s campus resources for depression?

Are there any other helpful resources?

  • DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)
  • NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness)
  • NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health)

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. Lin LY, et al.  Association Between Social Media use and Depression Among U.S. Young Adults. Depression And Anxiety 00:1–9 (2016).

2.  JelenchickLA, EickhoffJC, Moreno MA.“Facebook depression?” Social networking site use and depression in older adolescents. J Adolesc Heal 2013;52(1):128–130.

3.  Kross E, Verduyn P, Demiralp E, et al. Facebook use predicts declines in subjective well-being in young adults. PLoS One 2013;8(8):e69841.

4. Moreno MA. Depression and Internet use among older adolescents: an experience sampling approach. Psychology2012;3:743– 748.

5. Sagioglou C, Greitemeyer T. Facebook’s emotional consequences: Why Facebook causes a decrease in mood and why people still use it. Comput Human Behav 2014;35:359–363.

6. Tumblr. “Everything Okay?” 2014. Available at: http://www.webcitation.org/6aKw1PTdP.

7.  Facebook. Updates in Facebook Safety. 2015. Available at: http://www.webcitation.org/6aKw1PTdP.