What Google Trends are telling us about Addictions

Google search trends offer us a unique view into the habits and interests of our society. With approximately 88% of the US population on the Internet, according to internet live stats, and with the ubiquitous usage of google search, much can be learned about what people are interested in.

 Here at Talk Therapy, we are particularly interested in understanding addiction and google has some interesting contributions to make to our understanding.

 Electronics Addiction

 One interesting and not yet fully studied area of addiction is electronics addiction. This includes the addiction to cell phones, texting, and social sites, like facebook, youtube, and others. We leave out addiction to video games as we believe that is an area that demands focused and separate investigation.

Google Trends - Facebook Addiction


According to google trends, the term “facebook addiction” peaked in 2011 and has been on a steady decline since. This could mean several things:

  • Interest in facebook as a whole is declining
  • Addiction to facebook is declining

It is reported that facebook usage is declining, though exact numbers are not published. What seems to be happening is that different populations are shifting from one social platform to another. One growing trend is in the tween population, where the shift is away from facebook and into instagram and youtube.

When looking at facebook, youtube, instagram and twitter side-by-side, we see that concern over addiction to those platforms is in fact growing. The Google trends around addiction tied to these platforms, seems to suggest a steady incline.

Google Trends - Addiction to top social sites


In the coming months, we will be conducting a study in this area to further understand the unique nature of addiction to electronics and to social sites, in particular. Please let us know if you would like to participate.

Author: Seda Gragossian, Ph.D.

Talk Therapy Psychology Center

Addicted to Jello Shots

According to Google Trends, the top searched “red white and blue” item during the 4th of July holiday was “Jello shots”. Additionally, the fourth most searched recipe was also “Jello shots”.

While 4’th of July is a wonderful holiday where friends and family come together to celebrate, let’s not forget that it is also a time where alcohol consumption is a part of most social gatherings. This is particularly problematic if you are underage and are just trying to have a good time during the holidays.

Jello Shot Consumption by Adolescents

We are picking on Jello shots partly in jest but we also realize that it represents one of our society’s playful ways of sweeping the alcohol consumption problem under the carpet. Let’s be honest: people are not searching Google to find the tastiest Jello recipe. They are searching for which alcohol combination is best and when in the cooking process to add the alcohol without ruining its potency.

What people don’t realize is that Jello shot consumption is high among older adolescents. Based on a study performed by Boston University, using a national sample of kids ages 16 to 20, they concluded that “jello shot use is prevalent among youth, representing a substantial portion of their alcohol intake.” In fact, of the population they interviewed, 21% had consumed Jello shots in the last 30-days, and this study was not even done during a holiday season. That same population indicated that 14.5% of their alcohol consumption came from Jello shots.

No, we are not starting a campaign against Jello. But we do wish to raise awareness to the growing issue of alcohol consumption in our population and especially in adolescents.

Please eat Jello responsibly.


Author: Seda Gragossian, Ph.D.

Talk Therapy Psychology Center

Study: Boston University Study on Jello Shot Consumption

Talk Therapy is featured in TalkSpace on Addiction in the LGBT Community

Dr. Seda Gragossian was recently interviewed by TalkSpace, on the subject of addiction in the LGBT community.

Dr. Seda spoke about the bisexual person’s sense of guilt and the absence of a strong community and a sense of belonging that is often found in the gay community.

Opioid addiction and the link to prescription pain medication

This is a multi-faceted problem and I would like to shed some light on the prescribing process. Unfortunately, general physicians are often not well-equipped with the knowledge to evaluate if a certain individual has addiction tendencies. As a result, they lack the protocols to properly evaluate long-term risks associated with opioid use by certain individuals. While there is a time and a place for use of opioids in the course of care, the risks of creating dependence are much higher in some populations than others.

Additionally, there does appear to be an over-prescription scenario. When certain individuals have tolerance or do not respond to a certain pain medication, a physician will often switch them to another — and then another — until a good fit is found. Unfortunately, that creates an overexposure for the individual and when you couple this with addictive predispositions, you have a recipe for dependence.

In some cases we have evaluated, we see patients moving off of prescribed pain medications and embarking on a heroin addiction. It is reported by the National Institute of Drug Abuse that nearly half of heroin users, in one particular study, reported having started as abusers of opioid-based pain medication.

Author: Seda Gragossian, Ph.D.

Talk Therapy Psychology Center

Source of citation: NIDA Drug Facts

We offer addiction treatment at our professional office location in Sorrento Valley, San Diego

Visit the Talk Therapy center at its location, situated in Sorrento Valley and easily accessible from major highways in San Diego.

We are located within 10 minutes from La Jolla, Del Mar, and Rancho Santa Fe.

The building offers a comfortable outdoor seating area for those who need some outdoor time in-between sessions.

Inside, there is plenty of comfortable seating, access to good coffee,  and quite areas for checking email.