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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Indoor tanning linked to anxiety, substance abuse”

Casey Sapio / Arizona Daily Wildcat

A study published by the Archives of Dermatology showed a correlation between indoor tanning and addiction, usggesting that those who frequent tanning beds show tendencies to use alcohol and marijuana.
Casey Sapio
Casey Sapio / Arizona Daily Wildcat A study published by the Archives of Dermatology showed a correlation between indoor tanning and addiction, usggesting that those who frequent tanning beds show tendencies to use alcohol and marijuana.

The popular fashion statement of bronzed skin is a growing trend these days, researchers have found this golden-fried look can lead to a dangerous indoor tanning addiction.

A recent study published in the April edition of Archives of Dermatology suggested that people who frequently use indoor tanning beds also have more tendencies to use alcohol and marijuana than those who do not.

Thirty-nine percent of the students surveyed who have tanned indoors showed signs of having an addiction to tanning. Students who showed addictive tendencies to indoor tanning also showed a greater use of alcohol and marijuana.

More than 400 college students from a university in the northeastern part of the country participated in a month-long study assessing the correlation between addiction and indoor tanning. Each participant filled out a questionnaire that included questions about their demographics, frequency of indoor tanning and how often they use substances like tobacco, alcohol and marijuana. After completing the questionnaire, each participant was screened for alcoholism and substance-related disorders. The participants also participated in a self-evaluation measuring their levels of anxiety and depression.

“”I think indoor tanning is dumb, “” said Allyson Lewis, an education freshman. “”It’s obviously not real and it’s more dangerous. People fake and bake because it’s faster and easier. I think people can become addicted to tanning just like they can become addicted to shopping.””

When asked how Lewis maintains her luminous glow, she replied, “”I don’t go tanning, I lay out. I like saying that it’s all natural. It’s like getting fake boobs, no one wants to admit that it’s not real.””

Drs. Catherine E. Mosher, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and Sharon Danoff-Burg of the State University at Albany in New York, administered the study. They used the Cut Down, Annoyed, Guilty, Eye-opener method and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to create criteria for addiction. These methods are commonly used in the medical and psychological fields to diagnose an individual with anxiety, depression or other substance-related disorders.

Researchers hypothesized that frequent exposure to UV light results in a behavioral pattern related to alcoholism and substance abuse. Other studies on UV light have determined it enables relaxation, improved moods and increased socialization. These effects of tanning can fuel students’ desire for more indoor tanning.

Heather Hiscox, a program development coordinator at the Skin Cancer Institute at the Arizona Cancer Center, said, “”People that tan before the age of 30 have a 70 percent increased chance of getting melanoma skin cancer.””

Hiscox did not want to comment on the behavioral issues associated with the study because she did not have the time to fully read the study.

“”I’ve worked with people that knew tanning was putting them at risk and they still could not stop,”” she said. “”The results and data are very interesting.””

Two workers from Hollywood Tans, a tanning salon located on University Boulevard, refused to comment because company policy dictates that workers are not allowed to speak to the press.

Researchers suggest that skin cancer interventions inform these “”tanorexic”” individuals of the addictive qualities of indoor tanning and the correlation to substance-related disorders.

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