Smoking cigarettes is bad for you. This has been proven tenfold over the last few decades. Yet, people insist on smoking. Despite teeth staining, smelly clothes, a raspy voice, and the chronic threat of developing a lung disease, people continue smoking. The same phenomena applies to tanning. Excessive exposure to UVA and UVB ultraviolet light can cause skin cancer, which in advanced stages can become life-threatening. Without using hats, sunscreens, or cover ups, people persistently seek sunbathing or tanning beds to maintain the skin color of their choice. Though vitamin D therapy is helpful in treating depression types like seasonal affective disorder, too much can be damaging. New research suggests that the specific impulse to tan could be an indication of an addictive personality and lead to other addictions.
Science Daily reports that the Yale School of Public Health found a correlation between substance abuse, mental health, and an addiction to tanning. “…Those who exhibited tanning dependence, also referred to as tanning addiction, were six times as likely to also be dependent on alcohol and three times as likely to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).” Additionally, those who demonstrated a tanning addiction were “five times more likely to exhibit ‘exercise addiction’”.
What causes tanning addiction is not yet understood. Early understandings of the brain’s reactions to tanning indicate a surplus in the production of melanin and endorphins. Endorphins are a feel good brain chemical which many people feel when they exercise. Like many “addictions”, the brain associates behaviors and processes like tanning and exercising with reward.
Interestingly, tanning and exercise are recommended treatments, in a healthy balance, for mental health conditions like depression, because of the way they produce endorphins and create healthy rewards.
Learning to create balance and peace in life when recovering from mental or chemical addictions takes time and healing. The residential treatment programs at Avalon Malibu are designed to clinically guide you toward mental healing while providing other treatments for body and spirit. For a confidential assessment and more information on our programs, call 1 (888) 958-7511 today.