Most people do not consider tanning an addictive behavior, but rather an attempt to fit in with a society focused heavily on appearances. While there are some people who turn their skin orange in an effort to fit in, there are many people who suffer from a legitimate condition known as “tanning addiction.”
Not only is this a real concern and a growing problem in America, but new research indicates that it could be genetic. Researchers from the VA Connecticut Healthcare System and Yale University teamed up to see if there was a specific gene acting as a culprit in tanning dependence. The results were fairly surprising.
The Role Of Genes In Tanning Addiction
The researchers worked with a group of nearly 500 people for this study. The participants completed three different questionnaires about addiction, focusing on tanning. 79 participants tested positive in all three screenings and were classified as “tanning dependent.”
After comparing the genetic variants for the dependent and non-dependent groups, scientists were surprised to find that there was a noticeable difference. The dependent group had a statistically high presence of variants of a gene called PTCHD2. They are still unsure of the function of this gene, but they know that the protein codes for it are mainly stored in the brain.
What Does This Mean?
The results of the Yale-VA study showed that tanning addiction may not be purely driven by societal influences. There is evidence now to indicated that a genetic component in the brain may trigger addiction in some people more so than others. Even though teenagers may display a stronger desire to go tanning to fit in, part of their desire may be from a genetic influence. Younger people can also fall into a shopping addiction category.
Identifying Tanning Addiction Symptoms
Since tanning addiction is a relatively new concept, it does not have as many identified indicators as anxiety, gambling addiction, food addiction, etc. Assuming it acts like other addictive behaviors though, you will mainly need to watch for uncontrollable desires to go tanning. This may result in taking out loans or maxing out credit cards to go to a tanning salon or lying to other people about how often you tan.
If you or someone you know is dealing with tanning addiction or any other addictive behavior, talk to a therapist about your situation. There are treatment solutions that can help you regain control of your life and find other ways to build your happiness. Call Perspectives Of Troy at (248) 244-8644 to speak to a counselor near you.