With finals week comes the pressure and stress to finish the semester strong. For many college students, there are ways of coping and destressing after a semester-long amount of work, including some methods that are harmful to long-term health and wellbeing. Here are eight of the worst things college students can do during finals week. 

1. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.


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Many college students choose to drink and use alcohol as a means of coping and dealing with stress. Unfortunately alcohol is over-consumed by many and can cause multiple health issues.

One concept with over drinking that many college students conduct is binge drinking which can cause injury to oneself and others.  According to the National Institute of Health, binge drinking occurs after four drinks for women and after five drinks for men within two hours. Binge drinking, which raises blood alcohol concentration levels to 0.08 g/dL, increases risks for motor vehicle accidents, unpredictable behavior, physical altercations and rash decisions, and even hospitalization and death if BAC levels are too high. 

Alternatives: Alcohol is only one way to relieve stress. Taking a break from academic activities through watching Netflix, taking a walk around campus, socializing with friends or even going to gym is a healthier alternative. 

2. Mis-use of legal (and use of illegal) drugs. 

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One means of coping that many students turn to is the use of drugs. While illegal drugs such as hallucinogens like LSD, Psilocybin, Peyote, DMT, and Ayahuasca can provide some relief for some individuals, they can cause short term and long term psychological and physical changes that can affect academic and career performance in the future. While legal in some states, use of marijuana better known as weed, especially for recreational use, can cause memory impairment, decreased attention spans and difficulty learning.

Other drug abuses include uses of ADHD medication to improve study habits and complete a heavy school workload to make major deadlines. ADHD medication abuse of adderall, ritalin and vyvanese can cause long term addiction, sleep difficulties, headaches, loss of appetite, depression and nervousness.

Alternative: Try exercise, which releases endorphins; the body's natural pain medicine as well as socializing with others that can take away from the overwhelming tasks for the end of the semester. 

3. Smoking to relieve pressure.

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Cigarettes might be legal and give students a temporary break from pressure but they are known to cause multiple health risks. These health risks include cancer to 16 important parts of the body, increased chances of heart attack and side effects to the reproduction systems of both men and women.

Alternative: Try exercising, chewing gum or perhaps even eating an apple. By not smoking cigarettes, you can prevent long-term health issues and ultimately live a healthier life. 

4. Irregular sleeping habits.

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Faced with many time-consuming assignments in a short time period time can result a reduction of sleeping hours in many college students' schedules. With a lack of sleep comes major health risks including death, increased chances of driving accidents, depression, judgment impairment, weight gain, decreased sex drive and increased chances of getting diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and heart attacks.

Alternative: Try creating a time schedule for finals, studying, eating and sleeping. By creating a schedule you can balance out the 24 hours in day to coordinate and get the recommended eight hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep will result in a better academic performance. 

5. Irregular eating habits. 

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Finals week is a juggling act of writing papers, working on projects, studying and taking exams. With such pressures often comes irregular eating habits, changes which can promise health risks like developing diabetes, increasing blood pressure, and unhealthy weight gain/loss. Other health risks include drops in blood sugar levels which can trigger crashes and effect academic performance.

Alternative: Try choosing healthy snack options such as fruits, vegetables and wholesome meals with eggs and salads. Don't skip meals. 

6. Overdosing on caffeine. 

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During finals week many college students use caffeine as a means to stay awake and focused on completing the tasks at hand. Caffeine can be consumed through coffee, energy drinks and soda, however, many college students can take it too far with the amount of caffeine they ingest which can cause confusion, irregular heartbeat, trouble sleeping, dehydration, fever and much more.

Alternative: If you feel addicted to caffeine, try drinking water or changing your diet to include foods like eggs, chicken, quinoa, etc which provide a steady and longer lasting supply of energy. 

7. Avoid exercising or going to the gym.

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With finals week many students find themselves short on time and many avoid exercising because they don't think it's worth fitting into their schedule. But cutting out workouts puts you at risk for anxiety and depression, binge eating and similar activities along with high blood pressure.

Alternative: If you're feeling stressed and need a break from studying and school work try going out for a brief walk around campus or stopping by the gym for at least half an hour.