Is it possible to develop a physical addiction to tanning?
Dr. David Sack, addiction psychiatrist and CEO of Promises Treatment Centers, tells Bisous magazine in this month’s edition that there are a wide range of substances and behaviors that can be considered addictive and tanning is one of them.
“Tanning, like some opiate drugs, releases pleasure-enducing chemicals in the brain such as endorphins,” Dr. Sack told the magazine. Researchers have found that about one-third of college students who are frequent tanners could be considered addicted.
And it’s no coincidence that frequent tanners have higher rates of anxiety– ultra-violet light has been shown to produce a calming effect. Dr. Sack said frequent tanners are also more likely to use drugs, indicating a possible predisposition for addiction. In addition, there are similarities to eating disorders.
“For some, most notably those who tan to the point of burning or looking leathery or unnaturally dark, excessive tanning may be related to body dusmorphic disorder, sometimes called “tanorexia.”
If you have cravings to tan or suffer withdrawal symptoms such as nausea and restlessness when you miss a session, you may be a tanning addict.
Read the entire article on tanning addiction.