Health29 Dec 2009 08:17 pm
Tanning addiction, also known as “Tanorexia” is a term used to describe a condition in which a person has a physical and/or psychological addiction to sunbathing or the use of tanning beds. Biochemical evidence indicates that tanning addicts are addicted to an opiod release that they become chemically dependant on during tanning. Interestingly, when frequent tanners took an endorphin blocker in a 2006 study, they experienced severe withdrawal symptoms, while infrequent tanners experienced no withdrawal symptoms.
Although the term “Tanorexia” has widely been used in the media and the public to describe people who excessively tan, both the word and the syndrome have not yet been widely accepted in the medical community. However, persistent Tanorexia inarguably leads to potentially negative and dangerous side effects for the sufferer, including premature aging and increased risk of developing skin cancer.
Extreme incidents of anorexia can be a symptom of Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a mental disorder in which a person is pathologically critical of their appearance; a sufferer of Tanorexia may perceive his or herself as having a much fairer skin complexion than would be described by others.
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