Sunday, April 25, 2010

Indoor Tanning Linked to Addiction, Anxiety

A new study, which polled more than 400 U.S. college students ages 18 to 25, found that about half of them used indoor tanning beds. The study links tanning with addiction, anxiety, and substance abuse. The researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City found that people who tanned regularly also tended to use alcohol and marijuana. The authors note that repeated UV light exposure may produce results similar to those often cited by substance abusers, like relaxation, increased socialization, and improved moods. The authors wrote, "Treating an underlying mood disorder may be a necessary step in reducing skin cancer risk among those who frequently tan indoors." Amy Fisher, Substance Abuse Services Coordinator at the University Counseling Center at the University of Mississippi said, "We have chemistry in our brains that regulates our moods, regulates cravings, regulates sleep, regulates everything... and you can train your brain to do certain things. If you've trained it to not release the chemicals that make you feel good until you've done this thing, then you get in the habit of doing something in order to get that really good feeling." The authors of the study suggested a short anxiety and depression screening for those who participate in indoor tanning.

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