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Indoor tanning increases risk of substance abuse among students: Study


Going for beauty treatments in a salon has become a day-to-day affair for many. Today’s generation, comprising both boys and girls, indulge in a variety of beauty treatments to look picture perfect. However, a recent study suggests that teens frequently into indoor tanning are more likely to indulge in substance abuse.

The study by the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, published online in the JAMA Dermatology in 2016, found that indoor tanning and substance abuse have a direct link. It states that a person’s motivation behind indoor tanning offers reasons as to why he is inclined to develop other risky behaviors.

The study findings

Study author Robert Dellavalle, M.D., associate professor of dermatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said, “Indoor tanning and use of steroids may both stem from the motivation to enhance one’s appearance.” He added that there are addictive psychological pathways in indoor tanning which are similar to those of substance abuse.

Prior researches have shown that indoor tanning can release endorphins, which are body’s natural opiates produced by the central nervous system and pituitary gland. Endorphins can be addictive in nature.

The researchers used the health data of Healthy Kids Colorado Survey at 220 Colorado public schools with 40,000 students participating in it from August to December 2013. “During the last 12 months, how many times did you use an indoor tanning device such as a sunlamp, sun-bed or tanning booth,” the researchers asked 12,144 students in the survey.

An analysis of the answers showed that female students were twice as likely to engage in tanning compared to male students. Of the surveyed students, 64.5 percent females said that they used tanning salons compared to 33.8 percent males.

The study also reflected that alcohol and marijuana consumption within the prior 30 days of tanning were closely associated. Marijuana was used by 66.2 percent i.e. two-thirds of the surveyed students who go for indoor tanning.

Researchers also found that lifetime use of steroids was invariably linked to indoor tanning, especially among males. According to the statistics obtained from the survey, 21 percent of indoor tanners used steroids and 9.6 percent said they smoked cigarettes daily over the last month.

According to Dellavelle, the study also found that female students who tanned indoors generally used drugs like Ecstasy and other prescription drugs, whereas males got their flavor by indulging in steroids and heroin.

Treatment for recovery

A person who goes for tanning may also develop illicit drug abuse habit. Moreover, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified ultraviolet radiation as a group 1 carcinogen, which puts users of indoor tanning beds at a greater risk for skin cancer.

It is very important to create awareness among students about the harmful effects of tanning. It not only has physical effects on the body, but also makes a person take to substance abuse. The researchers of the study have also requested medical practitioners treating indoor tanning patients to consider assessing for drug abuse too.

If you or your loved one goes for excessive indoor tanning to salons, beware of its consequences as it can make you an addict to substances. If you are battling addiction and want to have a substance abuse-free life, we can help. Sovereign Health Group is a pioneer in treatment of addictions. We provide effective and individualized treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. You may chat online with an expert today for more information or call our 24/7 helpline number 855-683-9756.

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