Sex Addiction, Religion and the Alleged Spa Shooter

Sex Addiction

Plus: The CDC issues a new report on overdose deaths; guidance for treating women with SUD; and how adolescent behaviors influence later pot use

By William Wagner

March 23, 2021

Joshua B. Grubbs, Ph.D., an expert on behavioral addictions, offers his analysis of what might have motivated a 21-year-old man to allegedly kill eight people at three different Atlanta-area spas last week. We also highlight a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report on soaring drug overdose rates this century, new guidance from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on treating women with addiction, and the connection between behaviors in adolescence and marijuana use in adulthood.

Over the past decade, my research has found that religion and sexual addiction are deeply intertwined.”—Joshua B. Grubbs, Bowling Green State University

From The Conversation:
Did Sex Addiction Spur the Alleged Atlanta Spa Shooter?

The suspect in last week’s spa shootings attributed his actions to sex addiction. In response, Joshua B. Grubbs, an assistant professor of psychology at Bowling Green State University, takes a broad look at sex addiction in The Conversation. The alleged shooter has been described as an evangelical Christian who had been wrestling with his sexual impulses. Grubbs says this description is in line with his findings on the subject. “A lot of my research has focused on how religion interacts with sexual behaviors and feelings of addiction,” Grubbs writes. “Over the past decade, my research has found that religion and sexual addiction are deeply intertwined.”

From the CDC:
Dissecting the OD Death Count

Drug overdose deaths have risen dramatically all over the United States in the 21st century, but is the impact being felt harder in cities or the countryside? The answer depends on a number of factors, new research from the CDC reveals. The report’s authors write, “Drug overdose deaths continue to rise in the United States, with significant urban-rural differences in rates by sex, age and types of drugs involved.”

Overall from 1999 through 2019, the rate of OD deaths rose from 6.4 to 22.0 per 100,000 in urban counties and 4.0 to 19.6 in rural counties. But the statistics shift around when you plug in different variables. For example, death rates related to psychostimulants such as methamphetamine are increasing more in rural than urban locales, but those involving opioids such as heroin are climbing at higher rates in densely populated areas. Bottom line? Targeted interventions, as opposed to a blanket approach, are the key to flattening the curve.

Guidance for Treating Women with SUD

Studies over the years have indicated that men are more vulnerable than women to substance use disorder (SUD). Women, however, are far from immune. To aid addiction treatment professionals, SAMHSA published a guide this month that addresses the unique needs of women with SUD. “Women develop physiological complications from substance use, especially alcohol, in a shorter time and with lower consumption than men,” the guide’s authors write. Recommended strategies for care include family-oriented therapy, trauma screening, a focus on co-occurring disorders and administering appropriate medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for pregnant women.

From Addiction:
The Link Between Adolescent Behaviors and Later Marijuana Use

Researchers from Emory University and Brown University studied the impact adolescent behaviors might have on the use of marijuana in adulthood, and they determined that there might indeed be a connection. In a news release, Rohan Palmer, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at Emory and the study’s senior author, said, “Our analysis suggests that some early adolescent behaviors and traits—like depression, neuroticism and acting out—can be indicative for cannabis use later in life.”

Photo: Jonathan Taylor