By Anne Harding


MONDAY, April 19, 2010 ( — Alcoholics, drug addicts, smokers, and gamblers have their 12-step programs—could Tanners Anonymous be next? A new study suggests that 1 in 5 people who use tanning beds exhibit signs of clinical addiction, including feeling guilty about their artificial sun sessions and tanning more than they intended.

“People have shown indirectly, in various ways, that tanning tends to be addictive,” says Darrell Rigel, MD, a clinical professor of dermatology at New York University who wasn’t involved in the research. “This is the first time it’s been done on this large a scale, using strict psychiatric criteria.”

What's more, these tanning addicts appear to be more likely to drink, smoke marijuana, and experience anxiety than non-tanners or tanning-bed users who aren’t addicted, according to the study, which appears in the Archives of Dermatology.



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