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Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2009 Feb;25(1):12-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0781.2009.00392.x.

Tanning as an addictive behavior: a literature review.

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1
Department of Dermatology, Center for Dermatology Research, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1071, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recent studies have identified reinforcing properties associated with tanning and suggest a possible physiologic mechanism and addiction driving tanning behavior.

OBJECTIVE:

This article attempts to synthesize the existing literature on tanning and addiction to investigate possible associations.

METHODS:

We investigated a variety of substance dependence models to define what constitutes dependence/addiction and to determine how current studies on tanning meet these criteria.

RESULTS:

In some individuals, tanning has met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual criteria for a substance-related disorder or tanning-modified Cut Down, Annoyed, Guilt, Eye-opener criteria. Trial studies have demonstrated the induction of withdrawal symptoms in frequent tanners.

LIMITATIONS:

Additional studies are needed to investigate the associated dependency and addiction more fully and to elucidate its similarities to other better-known addictive syndromes.

DISCUSSION:

Tanning is a problem behavior, both as a health risk and as a possible dependency. Future studies, especially in the area of cognitive mapping and cue-related stimuli are needed. Imaging studies may be important in elucidating whether the same areas of the brain are involved in tanning addiction as in other addictive syndromes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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