Tanorexia: Is It A Real Addiction?

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Tanorexia: Is It A Real Addiction? featured image

Do you know someone who jokingly claims that they’re addicted to tanning, regularly lying in the beds despite the dangers? Well, “tanorexia” may not be a joke: it could be a very real addiction, according to a new study by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the State University of New York, Albany.

Questionnaires about substance abuse were given to more than 200 college students, all of whom said they had used tanning beds in the last year. Researchers found that 22% of these participants met the criteria for addiction, displaying higher levels of alcohol and drug use as well higher levels of anxiety.

However, this addictive behavior didn’t apply to just drinking and drugs: that 22% also used tanning beds more frequently than the other participants. This finding coincides with other studies that have linked tanning to addiction, such as smoking cigarettes.

“From a public health perspective, the findings suggest that there may be a subgroup of individuals who are addicted to indoor tanning and have an underlying mood disturbance,” study author Catherine Mosher told Reuters.

The Indoor Tanning Association, however, is reluctant to see tanning as a possible addiction, and its spokesperson, John Overstreet, questioned the study’s scientific value.

“There is one thing we all agree on,” he condeded to a reporter, “that you’ve got to avoid sunburning and avoid overexposure.”

Are you “tanorexic”? Do you know someone who is? Share your experience and opinion by leaving a comment below.

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