These questions were answered by more than 50 individual scientists and science writers with expertise in addiction. To get as many answered as possible, responses were written quickly based on the personal background and knowledge of each expert. Please note that there was not a secondary review or proofreading of each fact, and if readers have questions or comments about any response, they can ask further questions.

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are shrooms as bad as lsd?

-TheLlamaQueen, Maryland

Hi TheLlamaQueen (love the name)! Psychedelic compounds in some mushrooms include Psilocybin, which is very similar chemically to LSD.  All effects of Psilocybin and LSD depend on dose and potency, so they can be. Check out http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/hallucinogens-lsd-peyote-psilocybin-pcp to read about Psilocybin and LSD.

-Nancy Pilotte

Are some personalities more addicted than others?

-SAP Program, Vermont

Hey there SAP Program - thanks for reaching out.
A very intreresting question!  This is one that many scientists spend their lives trying to answer. There are personality traits, such as impulsivity, that make people more likely or less likely to become addicted. There are also important brain and bodily differences that make some people more likely to than others become addicted. These may inlcude the way that a person's metabolism processes drugs (or alcohol) or the effects the drug has on brain chemistry.

You'll find a summary overview of what we know  about how drugs cause addiction here: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addi...

-Harold Perl

Are steriods addictive? And what are the poor side effects of steroids?

-Zeus23, Minnesota

hi zeus
Even though anabolic steroids do not cause the same high as other drugs, steroids are reinforcing and can lead to addiction. Studies have shown that animals will self-administer steroids when given the opportunity, just as they do with other addictive drugs. People may persist in abusing steroids despite physical problems and nega-tive effects on social relationships, reflecting these drugs’ addictive potential. Also, steroid abusers typically spend large amounts of time and money obtaining the drug—another indication of addiction. other effects in my video here
good luck
ruben
 

-Ruben Baler

can alcoholism occur because of someone's personal choices and bad decisions over a period of time?

-jjones, Georgia

Alcoholism, and addiction in general, is a disease. Through scientific advances, we know more about how drugs and alcohol work in the brain than ever, and we also know that addiction can be successfully treated to help people live fulfilling lives. 

More here: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-abuse...

-Aaron White

Can animals be addicted to drugs?

-SerenaVW, Minnesota
Hi SerenaVW - Drugs can definitely affect animals. In fact, a lot of the research we support uses animals to examine the effects of drugs because animal brains are a good model for human brains. 

You should also check out this great blog by our very own Dr. Joe Frascella on drugs being "discovered" first by animals!  https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/so-why-do-people-drugs.

 
 
-Joni Rutter

Can animals get drugged?

-LaChabrah, Florida

Sure, their brains are a lot like ours. Drugs will impact thier brains much like ours.   The big difference is that animals can't choose to take drugs.
Dave

-Dave Thomas

can animals get high

-0137583, Florida

Hey this is a favorite question from you guys at Studies Prep Academy. Yes! In fact, most of the research done on drugs to help us understand how they work is done using animals that self-administer drugs of abuse.

-Joni Rutter

can animals get high?

-0206346, Florida

Hi 0206346/Internat. Studies Prep Academy. Yes! In fact, most of the research done on drugs to help us understand how they work is done using animals that self-administer drugs of abuse. 

-Joni Rutter

Can antidepressants be addicting?

-erisrael17, Minnesota

Hi Erisrael

Typical antidepressants work on the serotonin system and have little crossover to the dopamine system, which regulates pleasure. This is why antidepressants won't give you a high. as a consequence they are considered to have very low if any addiction potential.

thanks for the question and best of luck
  ruben

-Ruben Baler

Can any drugs make you go into a comma?

-lazysparkle, Maryland

Hey Sparkie.  
Depends on the drug, but sure, many can if one overdoses but survives.  It's better to stay away from drugs!   
Dave

-Dave Thomas

Can any of these drugs have the same or similar effect in other animals besides humans and rats?

-Sidney, Maryland

Yes Sidney, drugs have effects on all sorts of animals. We study humans, rats, mice, monkeys, voles, birds, worms, bees and flies, to name a few. The human brain is the most advanced, but we see similar effects of drugs across animal species.  

-Joni Rutter

Can anything other than booze get you drunk?

-DMassey, New Hampshire

Drunk is a term that generally only applies the effects of alcohol. 

-Aaron White

can beer get rid of body worms?

-makala2212, Georgia

There is plenty of speculation about this on the Internet but no studies have been done. 

-Aaron White

Can beer kill tapeworms in humans and dogs?

-Zemontiaaa, Georgia

I had never heard this one?! A quick search shows that there have not been any actual studies on this but some people swear that a very tiny amount of beer can kill tapeworms in dogs. It's best not to risk it, however, as alcohol can be toxic to pets. 

-Aaron White

can being around drugs for years affect you in the future.

-Dadrian14, Georgia

Hi Dadrian
probably not from second hand exposure, but being around drug users all the time has to have some negative effects in your life. Can you think of any?

thanks for a great question
ruben
 

-Ruben Baler

Can caffeine cause heart problems?

-Zohn, Maryland

Severe caffeine overdose can cause fast and erratic heartbeat, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, and disorientation—these extreme symptoms are more often caused by using caffeine powder than from drinking too much coffee or tea or consuming too many sodas or energy drinks.

-Maureen Boyle

Can caffeine stimulate weight loss? If you took pure polyphenols (the substance in green tea for slimming effect), would you start having a faster/enhanced metabolism or lose weight? Lastly, why are some drugs-like tobacco and caffeine- acceptable in society where marijuana (a gateway drug but nevertheless still popularly used) is considered illegal and harmful as a substance (while coffee and cigarettes are considered normal, daily fare)?

-Lanthirey, Maryland

Give it up for Lanthirey!  Awesome question.  There is no good evidence that caffeine leads to significant weight loss.  It may suppress your appetite for a time, but over a period of time, its not enough to actually cause your body to drop some serious pounds.   There are, however, good ways to lose weight that actually work.  As for our society's approach to drugs?  Well-not all drugs are equally harmful.  People don't commit crimes, lose everything they ever worked for, hurt their families, cause accidents or generally bring down the quality of life for themselves or others because of caffeine.  As for marijuana/cigarettes--it does seem like cigarettes are going out of style (thank goodness!) and marijuana is more popular.  But normal?  It all depends on who you hang with--but for lots of Americans, marijuana is not normal or OK or acceptable--they just don't get the media attention.  

-Lis Davis

Can catnip get you high?

-imalazyshit, Maryland

No, catnip is not addictive or psychoactive. Catnip (from the plant Nepeta cataria) DOES cause most cats to act strangely: they roll around, shake their heads, rub against things, and try to get the plant all over their bodies. Interestingly, cats are only affected when they smell it - it has NO EFFECT if they eat it. It appears that catnip has little or no psychoactive effects in people.

-Joni Rutter

can cocaine be medical

-trapwizard04, Michigan

It does have a very limited medical use as a local anesthetic.   But I do not think it is used much.   There are other local anesthetics that work fine and are not abused.   

Dave

-Dave Thomas

can coffee kill you

-Brittany, Illinois

Although caffeine is generally safe at the dosages contained in popular beverages, caffeine overdose (which can happen when consuming caffeine powder) can cause fast and erratic heartbeat, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, disorientation or even death—symptoms much more extreme than those of drinking too much coffee or tea or consuming too many sodas or energy drinks.

-Maureen Boyle

can a person be healthy after when they are drug addicts?

-YeseniaC, Texas

Dear Yesenia,
I'm not sure I understand your question, so I'll answer it two ways.
Yes, a person can be healthy and live a good life after quitting drugs.
If you are asking if a person can be healthy when s/he is a drug addict - it is possible, but much less likely. All addictive drugs have negative health effects, which you can find out about here: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts. In addition, someone who is addicted spends a lot of time thinking about the drug, obtaining it, and using it. That usually means that other areas of his/her life are less important, including taking care of his/her health.

-Michelle Leff

can a person quit a very addictive drug if they try?

-BryceR, Texas

Yes and the likelihood they succeed is increased if they get professional help.

-Nora Volkow

Can adhesive on the back of stickers cause you to get high?

-tamyra221344, Georgia

Hi tamyra.

I don't think so. It probably tastes aweful too.

 
 

-Ruben Baler

Can alcohol be good for the brain

-JCox, New Hampshire

The short answer is that alcohol is not good for a teen's developing brain.  Research tells us that drinking lots of alcohol during the teenage years can make an area of the brain called the frontal lobes smaller. The frontal lobes help us make decisions, think about things, and pay attention. Alcohol also can shrink the hippocampus, the area of the brain area that helps us learn and remember. Teenagers who drink a lot also have trouble with learning. We do not know yet whether these problems go away if the teenager stops drinking.

However, there is some evidence that, for older people, drinking small amounts of alcohol (a drink per day for women or two for men) might decreases the changes of developing dementia, which is a condition in which brain function deteriorates and it becomes harder to focus attention and learn new things.  

-Aaron White

can alcohol change your life

-josue L, Texas

Yes. It can kill you. And that's a major life change. 

-Aaron White

can alcohol make you fat ?

-laurenm, Texas

It certainly can. A glass of wine or a bottle of beer can have around 150-200 calories. That's about as much as a candy bar. Two glasses of wine could have as many calories as a fast food hamburger. The calories from drinking can really start to add up over time. 

-Aaron White

Can alcohol make you pass out quickly

-KevinC, Texas

Yes. If someone drinks enough alcohol quickly enough, the alcohol will hit the brain hard and areas involved in keep you awake and alive can be shut down. 

 

-Aaron White

can alcohol miss up your brain?

-svarney, New Hampshire

Yes, alcohol affects every part of the brain. Research tells us that drinking lots of alcohol during the teenage years can make an area of the brain called the frontal lobes smaller. The frontal lobes help us make decisions, think about things, and pay attention. Alcohol also can shrink the hippocampus, the area of the brain area that helps us learn and remember. Teenagers who drink a lot also have trouble with learning. We do not know yet whether these problems go away if the teenager stops drinking. It can also affect the part of the brain that controls our movement, making it more difficult to walk and focus.Teens who drink too much risk suffering lingering problems with attention and memory. 

-Aaron White

can alcohol poising affect your lungs

-justinC, Texas

Yes. If a person drinks enough alcohol to suffer alcohol poisoning, small areas in the lower part of the brain can be shut down. One of these areas is supposed to make us gag if something blocks the airway. If the person is suffering alcohol poisoning, they might vomit and then inhale some of it. Some people simply drown in the vomit and die. Others live but then die a week or more later due to aspiration pneumonia, a bacterial infection in the lungs caused by inhaling vomit. 

-Aaron White

Can alcohol signal any type of cancer?

-VanekB, Texas
Drinking a lot of alcohol over time increases your chances of developing cancers of the head, neck, mouth, throat, and breast. You can learn more about these risks at:http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Hangovers/beyondHangovers.htm#cha...
-Aaron White