Tanorexia: Does Tanning Addiction Really Exist?

| by Toni Brayer MD
According to the Archives of Dermatology, there are people who are addicted to indoor tanning. That journal reported on a study of 421 University students in the northeastern United States.  Using self-reported questionnaires, they screened for alcoholism and substance use as well as anxiety and depression. They also had a questionnaire about addiction to indoor tanning. 


If you are scratching your head (as I was) please know there is a medically accepted criteria known as CAGE (cut down, annoyed, guilty, eye-opener) that correlates with addiction, so they used this for "addiction" to indoor tanning also. They found that more of the kids who met the criteria for addiction to indoor tanning also had greater anxiety, greater use of alcohol, marijuana and other substances. Depression didn't seem to go with the tanners or the non-tanners.

The researchers concluded that students who are addicted to indoor tanning may also have other addictions and psychologic disturbances.

My 2¢ is that this is a pretty absurd study, and I wonder who funded it. I have never met anyone who is addicted to indoor tanning, nor have I known any person with anxiety or a substance abuse problem who simply must be tan! Do some researchers have too much funding and too much idle time on their hands?

Should we call this the George Hamilton Syndrome?