Note from Josh: This is the first time I’m presenting a guest blogger. Aeden Smith-Ahearn approached me with some research he was working on and wondered if I’d like to share it. Upon looking at the map he’s created, I think he shows just how prevalent sex and porn addiction is in the US. I also think it’s important to point out all of the other addictions. This is really some fantastic work on his part and I hope you’ll enjoy it and be educated as much as I was.
By Aeden Smith-Ahearn
Addiction is on the rise, and with it comes a slew of problems that we seem unequipped to deal with. With the opioid epidemic being declared a public emergency, alcoholism on the rise, and pornography addiction still not being considered a “medical issue”, it seems we have an overall problem that is being seriously overlooked.
In order to better understand this issue, and how it has permeated our society, we analyzed the data inside Google Trends to see just what addictions were concerning to modern Americans. We looked at this data on a state-by-state basis to find out which states were worried and educating themselves about which specific addictions.
Here are some of our findings:
Pornography and Sex Addiction
By far the most prevalent and most searched for addictions fell in the pornography and sex addiction category. This is a growing problem, yet still not listed as an actual “disorder” by psychologists and medical professionals today.
(Note from Josh: This was written before the World Health Organization began listing sexual compulsivity disorder).
Sex addiction was more prevalent in the east, with pornography addiction trending more prevalently in the west. On the full scale, clearly American’s are worried about these addictions—given the massive search volume and popularity. Given this trend, is it only a matter of time before this problem gets too out of hand—if it hasn’t already?
Drug, Alcohol, and Opiate Addictions
With opiate and heroin related overdoses becoming a daily occurrence. News stories about drugs and alcohol are more prevalent than ever. Some states even showed trends regarding specific opiate medications, like Tramadol in Florida, or Vicodin in Michigan. Such specific trends get at the heart of the problem, with certain states having their own specific issues that are unique to them.
Nicotine and alcohol remain at large in the US as well, and work to further fuel other addictions. Rarely does one addiction come alone, but, often, one addiction leads to another in a cycle of behavior that is hard to eliminate.
Social Media and Internet Addictions
Apparently more prevalent in eastern states, the use of smartphones, addictions to social media, Facebook, and other Internet platforms are on the rise nationwide.
And because of the piggyback nature of addiction, we wonder if these simple, easy to access addictions are providing a basic neurological route that leads individuals down a path to much stronger addictions like drugs and pornography.
Food and Sugar Addictions
Overall health continues to get worse, and declining life expectancy in America is just one major signal of this bigger problem. Obesity and other issues continue to be a massive setback for the country. Food addictions are not making things easier, and many American’s are searching for education related to these addictions.
Are We Doing Enough?
The problem of addiction is very real. There is a conversation happening, and many are hoping this conversation leads to real change. However, many of these issues are new, and they come with very little real scientific understanding.
Change is happening, but is it happening fast enough? Are we doing enough? Are we creating the future for our children that will empower them?
Maybe time will tell. But let’s hope we are not leaving this problem up to chance. That seems like a poor approach to the significant problems at hand.
Aeden Smith-Ahearn is the content coordinator for Experience Ibogaine treatment centers. Aeden was a massive heroin addict for seven years and, ultimately, found sobriety through Ibogaine. He now spends his time writing, educating, and helping others find freedom from addiction through alternative treatment methods.