Note: There is no transcript for CHAT DAY 2018, which was cancelled due to the Government Shutdown initiated on January 20, 2018.

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 here.

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Can underage drinking lead to depression and suicide?

-pizzadoglover49, Illinois

Alcohol definitely contributes to depression and suicide. Whether it can actually cause those things is a tough question.

-Aaron White

can you die from over the counter drugs

-ummmm..., Texas

Great question. Just because a drug is over the counter doesn't mean there are no health consequences. Typically serious consequences from over the counter drugs come when using more than directed or combining them with other substances. The safest way to use over the counter drugs and other prescription medications is to use them under the care of a health care provider and according to instructions. The most dangerous over the counter drugs being misused by teens are cough and cold medicines, which can be addictive. See here:

-Redonna Chandler

can you die from taking drugs once a day

-trase A, Texas

trase A - for many drugs taking too much just one time can be deadly

-Maureen Boyle

Can you die if you are addicted to drugs, but they are not available?

-Mnehls, Texas

There have been reports of deaths from alcohol and barbiturate withdrawal. Withdrawal from other drugs is very painful and difficult, but usually not fatal. Withdrawal describes the various symptoms that occur after long-term use of a drug is reduced or stopped abruptly. Length of withdrawal and symptoms vary with the type of drug. For example, physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal may include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, and cold flashes. These physical symptoms may last for several days, but the general depression, or dysphoria (opposite of euphoria), that often accompanies heroin withdrawal may last for weeks. In many cases, withdrawal can be easily treated with medications to ease the symptoms, but treating withdrawal is not the same as treating addiction.

-Dave Thomas

can you die when you have to much LSD

-doughnut dan77, Texas

Hi there. Yes you can although it is rare. Since 2010, there have been 16 LSD-related deaths, according to the CDC. LSD, or lysergic acid diethyhlamide, is a hallucinogen, which means it can produce hallucinations, and these can recur even months after you stop taking it. LSD produces its effects by acting on specific proteins in the central nervous system. These proteins are on brain cells (neurons) that make serotonin. Some LSD users experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings of despair, fear of losing control, or fear of insanity and death while using LSD. Check out for more information.

-Jacqueline Lloyd

Can you drink and not get addicted?

-M.Guerra, Pennsylvania

Yes, for sure! The majority of adults who drink do not develop a problem with alcohol. Teens who drink have a higher risk of developing an alcohol use disorder later in life, so while not everyone who drinks will develop a problem, it's better to be safe than sorry.

-Aaron White

can you eat cocaine instead of snorting it?

-summit14020, New Jersey

hey summit14020 - you can but the effects would be different. Cocaine is a topical anesthetic so it will make your mouth numb.

-Maureen Boyle

Can you estimate on average how many students report cases relating to drugs?

-username, New York

Clever username, username, thanks for joining us! According to the 2016 Monitoring the Future survey, 12% of 8th graders, 27% of 10th graders, and 38% of 12th graders reported they had used an illegal drug at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. If you want to look at more individual drug stats, check out or

-Marsha Lopez

Can you explain the connection between marijuana and schizophrenia?

-etarshish, Illinois

Marijuana interferes with processing of sensations and thinking, which is why it can lead to a misrepresentaiton of reality that can result in paranoia and full blown psyshcoses where you cannot recognize what is real from what is not

-Nora Volkow

Can you feel depressed and not know why

-Grace@gentryjr, Texas

Absolutely! A lot of people think that depression is a response to a particular thing going on in your life. However, while it is true that stressful things in your life can contribute to depression, someone could develop depression even if there is no particular event or situation that triggers it. However, it is good to keep in mind that depression lasts for a long time (at least a few weeks of constantly feeling depressed), and that being in a bad mood on and off or for a short while isn't quite the same. For more about depression, check out

-Susan Borja

can you get a heart attack by smoking and drinking alcohol??

-DMM, Illinois

Dear DMM,

This is not a well-studied phenomeonon. However, anything is possible - and certainly smoking and drinking alcohol have bad effects on the body and the brain. Smoking is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Alcohol binging can lead to alcohol poisoning and death.

-Michelle Leff

can you get a high from painting a room all day but not intentionally meaning to get a high?

-Anise F., Texas

i guess so, initially perhaps and for a while. But if there is no ventilation, the fumes, eventually can become so high as to become toxic and you may pass out.

-Ruben Baler

Can you get a high off of food? - Nora Volkow

-brian khols, New Jersey

food can generate a great sense of wellbeing that can be similar to that produced by some drugs but milder

-Nora Volkow

can you get addicted from second hand smoking?

-max rider , Texas

Hi Max Rider-- that is a great question. People become addicted to smoking because cigarettes have high levels of nicotine. Usually, someone exposed to secondhand smoke will not get similar amounts of nicotine. But, secondhand smoke exposes a person to a lot of the toxins in cigarettes, and can cause many of the same bad health effects.

-Kevin Walton

can you get addicted from sniffing hand sanitizer

-kojiro, Maryland

hey kojiro, not that we have heard of!

-Maureen Boyle

Can you get addicted to adhd medication?

-TM, Indiana

Hi TM - Yes it is. People with ADHD can be prescribed Aderall (a stimulatn) to help manage their symptoms. As with other drugs in the stimulant category, such as cocaine, it is possible for people to become dependent on or addicted to prescription stimulants. Withdrawal symptoms associated with discontinuing stimulant use include fatigue, depression, and disturbed sleep patterns. Repeated misuse of some stimulants (sometimes within a short period) can lead to feelings of hostility or paranoia, or even psychosis. Further, taking high doses of a stimulant may result in dangerously high body temperature and an irregular heartbeat. There is also the potential for cardiovascular failure or seizures

-Michele Rankin

can you get addicted to advil

-sam, Indiana

hey sam- this is a very common question today. No you can't.

-Maureen Boyle

can you get addicted to anti-depressants and if so what should you do

-ajstarr02, Texas

No, antidepressants do not produce addiction, but you should consult your physician when stopping use since some of them may need to be tapered (slowly discontinued).

-Nora Volkow

can you get addicted to anything?

-224296, Nebraska

Here's how we talk about it: Drug addiction is a complex, and often chronic, brain disease. It is characterized by drug craving, seeking, and use that can persist even in the face of devastating life consequences. Addiction results largely from brain changes that stem from prolonged drug use—changes that involve multiple brain circuits, including those responsible for governing self-control and other behaviors. Drug addiction is treatable, often with medications (for some addictions) combined with behavioral therapies. However, relapse is common and can happen even after long periods of abstinence, underscoring the need for long-term support and care. Relapse does not signify treatment failure, but rather should prompt treatment re-engagement or modification. For more information, see "Drugs, Brains, and Behavior - The Science of Addiction."

-Dave Thomas

Can you get addicted to caffeine?

-KanekiSenpai <3, Illinois

KanekiSenpai <3 - yes you can

-Maureen Boyle

Can you get addicted to cough syrup?

-mpalmer, New Hampshire

Hi, mpalmer, thanks for your question. Different types of cough syrup contain medications such as dextromethorphan (DXM) or Promethazine-codeine that can be psychoactive in high doses and can be addictive or habit forming, but quite often these medicines contain other ingredients that are dangerous in high doses. You can read more about more about these medications at

-Marsha Lopez

Can you get addicted to drugs even though you only do it once in a while?

-Jessica, New York

There is a lot we still don’t know about who becomes addicted and why, and after how much drug exposure. We do know that each person is different, so it’s a little like playing “Russian Roulette” if you choose to use drugs. But, if you do, the earlier you stop, the more likely you will be to avoid addiction and the harmful brain changes that lead to it.

-Dave Thomas

can you get addicted to foods and drinks like you can get addicted drugs

-legend 27, Texas

Hi legend 27 - you can that's because food and drugs both can overstimulate your body's reward system that can lead to addiction.

-Michele Rankin

Can drugs make you act different with others

-Caden@gentryjr, Texas

Absolutely, drugs can make you act different with others. Depending on the drug and the person, drugs can make people become more social, less social / very quiet, or very agressive.. Some may become more pleasant, some become dangerous to others. It is not worth it to try to see the effect it may have on you. Remember that using drugs can put you at risk for addiction and put you at risk for engaging in high risk behavior with other people.

-Cora Lee Wetherington

Can drugs make you age faster?

-adang, Texas

Hello Adang,

This is a very perceptive question. We don't know exactly the answer, but there is certainly some evidence that drugs, especially ampetamines, may have some effects on the body that can cause or mimic rapid aging. There are so many negative effects that drugs can have on your brain and body that rapid aging is one of very many reasons not to try them. There is more information here:

-Roger Little

can drugs make you age faster?

-dbrown, Texas

Hi dbrown--
Just go online and seach for pictures of people's faces who have smoked for many years. The wrinkes are very obvious and especially around the mouth. But, the more important thing that can happen is that smoking can put your health at risk, as you get older, for heart disease and lung disease, both of which can cut years or decades off your life.

-Cora Lee Wetherington

Can drugs make you age faster?

-Landon S., Pennsylvania

Hi Landon - some substance use can alter your body in ways that make you appear older than you are. Long term tobacco smoking is a good example.

-Michele Rankin

can drugs make you become sterile?

-pnj, Other

Great question! Drug use can result in any number of health problems depending on the drug, dose taken, how frequently, and how taken. Some drugs, like anabolic steroids, can affect reproductive organs in both males and females. Check out the NIDA website at to learn more about the health consequences of drug use!


-Michele Rankin

Can drugs make you feel depressed forever even after you stop using them?

-Jimena@GJS, Texas

It depends in part on your genetics and how long have u been taking them. Most people can recover when stopping drugs but some who have a vulnearibility to depression might have a hard time even when they stop using them.

-Nora Volkow

Can drugs make you more impulsive?

-bluecloud75, New York
Hi bluecloud75! Drug and alcohol use are related to impulsivity. Alcohol and drug use can decrease the function of the frontal cortex of your brain. The frontal cortex allows us to exert control over our actions and emotions. So -- decreased function can result in riskier and more impulsive behaviors.

Here are some resources to explore:

Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction:
The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction:

Thanks for participating in Chat Day!

-Belinda Sims