Are You Addicted to Tanning Beds?
A study shows it’s no joke.
People who use recreational tanning facilities may show signs of addictive behavior, and can also be at risk for anxiety and substance abuse, experts have found.
The report appears in the current issue of Archives of Dermatology. It was conducted by researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in New York City, and the State University of New York, Albany.
The authors noted that recreational-tanning use continues to rise among young adults “despite ongoing efforts to educate the public about the health risk” of both natural and “non-solar” UV rays. Of the college students the researchers surveyed, slightly more than 50 percent used tanning beds regularly, and the average number of visits per year was 23. These students’ answers to questions indicated that 39 percent met the criteria for tanning addiction – i.e. they repeatedly went for treatments despite the obvious health risks.
So what motivates them to do that? The study cited several reasons, including “enhanced appearance… [and] improved mood.” But as with any addiction, the high is only temporary. Addicts feel empty and dissatisfied afterward, and so they return to the addictive substance.
Another indication of trouble: Compared with people who did not show signs of addiction, respondents who met the criteria for tanning addiction had higher anxiety levels and were likelier to report alcohol and marijuana use.
Instead of focusing on indoor tanning as a mood heightener, the researchers suggested that treating an “underlying mood disorder” might help tanning addicts avoid needless skin-cancer risks. (Consumer Affairs)