In the August issue of the Archives, Keen et al1 discuss recent clinical evidence that UV-seeking behavior should perhaps be seen as an addictive disorder.2,3 This insight is important because it implies that excessive tanning behavior should be approached as a form of substance abuse and that altering patients' sunning habits will not be a trivial matter. Unfortunately, Keen et al do not mention recent molecular and clinical data supporting the idea that excessive UV tanning behavior results from an addiction to endogenous opioids.4,5 I believe that these recent data strongly justify treating excessive sun-seeking behavior as an addiction. This idea has important implications for dermatologic practice, and the recent report describing its possible molecular background4 may have escaped most readers' attention.
van Steensel MAM. UV Addiction: A Form of Opiate Dependency. Arch Dermatol. 2009;145(2):211. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2008.564