Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another addiction

"What does tanning have to do with mental health?"

I used to have a coworker who would lie in a tanning bed every single day on her lunch break. When we would arrive at our cubicles at 7:30am she would declare "I can't wait until I get to go tan!"

"You are so addicted!" I would tell her.

Now it appears maybe I was right all along. According to researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and State University at Albany, a study was recently done that may prove tanning beds have addictive properties similar to alcohol and drug addiction. Researchers used criteria similar to that used to assess addiction, such as waking up first thing in the morning and craving tanning or skipping social or work obligations to go to the tanning salon. Out of the 229 participants who stated they used tanning beds, 70 to 90 showed signs of being addicted.
We now know that spending time in a tanning bed is riskier than lying out poolside because the ultraviolet radiation is more concentrated. According to researchers, spending time in an indoor tanning bed increases your risk of skin cancer by a whopping 75 percent!

So why would anyone go to a tanning salon if it not only increases your risk of cancer, but is also very addictive? It seems like people would prefer to be pasty year-round. “Some scientists have hypothesized that a similar physiological mechanism underlies addiction to tanning and substance abuse." It looks like the more you tan, the harder it is to stop, just like abusing alcohol and drugs.

Following that philosophy, just like alcohol and drugs, it is easier to never start tanning than to have to quit. Click on the photo above to read the whole New York Times Article.

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