Summertime is coming in the Northern hemisphere, and very soon, the beaches will be full of people who want to get the perfect tan. However, there are always two kinds of people there: those who just want to chill on the seashore and catch a little bit of sun and those consumed by the desire to become a golden god or goddess.
According to the recent study conducted by Brenda Cartmel, Ph.D., at the Yale School of Public Health, people who have a tanning obsession, whether it is sunbathing or visiting indoor tanning beds, are more likely to suffer from other addictions, including drug dependency.
It may sound a bit weird to compare tan people to junkies or alcoholics, but scientists believe there is indeed a connection between people who crave for a glamorous tan and those with an addiction to alcohol, drugs, and even those dealing wiht seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
The study was published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. It surveyed 499 people who engaged in sunbathing or indoor tanning and revealed that people who had an addiction to getting tanned were not just a little, but six times more prone to having substance abuse problems.
When you think about it, it is understandable why there is no big difference between addictions: whether a person is obsessed with eating, tanning, drinking alcohol, or consuming drugs, they are looking for a quick result and instant pleasure. If a person is not able to confront the temptation to get that pleasure again and again, it soon turns into a compulsion and obsession, which very easily becomes an addiction.
While the addition issue is more or less clear, the tendency towards suffering from SAD needs some explaining. Those who have a tanning addiction may experience negative emotions if they cannot spend as much time as they want under the sun due to a shorter light day during the winter months. This frustration can sometimes be so strong that it may cause moderate to heavy levels of depression.
However, it does not mean that you need to suspect every tan person in town of being a junky. For some people, getting tanned once a year or trying to get the most from sunny days (especially if the summer is short in their area) is usual behavior that does not represent any tendency toward having an addiction. At the same time, even if one indeed shows too much insistence in getting golden brown under the sunlight, it does not make them addicted.
There is still a discussion among scientists on the relationship between an addictive person and a person with drug abuse issues. You cannot simply say that people who are addicted to tan are guaranteed to get hooked on drugs or alcohol as well. It is not the issue of a single characteristic: drug addiction may hit different people regardless of their cultural, family, race backgrounds and numerous other factors. For instance, a report by the U.S. Surgeon General that was issued in November 2016 showed that every one in seven Americans will face drug and alcohol addiction, whether they have a golden tan or milky white skin.
However, researchers hope that their study will help people with a tanning dependence and addictive disorders reduce their addiction issues.