DAILY / MAY 8, 2012, VOL. 2, NO. 21   Send Feedback l View Online
Psychiatric News Update
The Voice of the American Psychiatric Association and the Psychiatric Community
twitter facebook facebook
2012 APA's Annual Meeting Special Edition
Raise Your Energy and Performance With Sports Strategies

David R. McDuffSports psychiatrists are developing new strategies for athletes and nonathletes to counteract the ways in which competitive pressure degrades quality of life and performance, said David R. McDuff, M.D., at APA’s 2012 annual meeting in Philadelphia.

McDuff is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and author of
sports psychiatry: strategies for life balance & peak performance by American Psychiatric Publishing.

Since quality of life can be altered by self-doubt, stress, negative emotions, insomnia, interpersonal conflict, substance misuse, or injury/chronic pain, they can be aggressively targeted for preventive intervention, he said. Moreover, since performance can be diminished from overthinking, indecision, impulsivity, inattention, emotional reactivity, muscle-chain tightness, poor communication, low motivation, and team conflict, these areas can be used as targets for mental skills training, psychiatric treatment, and team building.

McDuff further emphasized that consistent peak-performance attainment in sports and other competitive fields requires an organized plan to remove performance barriers, insert performance enhancers, and establish and maintain life balance.

In a lively interactive discussion with his attendees, McDuff, the long-time team psychiatrist for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and MLB’s Baltimore Orioles, described his systematic approach to assessment and creative intervention strategies for getting maximal results and having fun while doing it. After giving an overview of eight core sports practice competencies (mental preparation; stress control; energy management; substance misuse; mental disorder treatment; injury recovery and pain management; developmental, gender, and cultural skill; and working with teams), he used case studies to illustrate key clinical points. For example, he used a case of insomnia in a college baseball coach to illustrate the role that stimulants like nicotine and caffeine and sedatives like alcohol can play in the genesis of sleep disorders. He also stressed the importance of awakening and unwinding routines and short planned mini-breaks across the day for energy maintenance. Using another case, he illustrated a path to improved performance and confidence in a first-year college tennis player by combining several basic mental skills (patterned exhalations, positive self-talk, and activated visualizations) with two complex skills (intensity regulation and pre-shot/return routine development).

In summary, McDuff blended evidence from brief psychotherapy, biomechanics, exercise physiology, nutritional and performance science, neurology, psychiatry, sport psychology and sports, pain, psychosomatic, and sleep medicine with informative case studies to create roadmaps for steady improvement and ultimate success. He used the experiences of the audience to demonstrate the application of sports performance strategies to other professionals with long hours and intense pressure, such as attorneys, engineers, teachers, hospital administrators, corporate executives, and physicians, including psychiatrists.



 subscribe to blog rss

>>subscribe to blog via email

Copyright © 2012 American Psychiatric Association. All rights reserved.