Mom’s Disturbing Face Makes Us Wonder: Does Excessive Tanning Mean Mental Health Issues?

Yesterday’s story about the New Jersey mom who was accused of taking her 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth had a lot of you enraged. Aside from questioning what type of parent Patricia Krentcil must be, some questioned her state of mind–just look at her, right? She’s only 44, but could easily pass for decades older. Clearly she is not taking good care of her skin–and possibly her daughter’s, but does excessive tanning mean she must have mental health issues? You tell us.

One dermatologist, Doris Day, told ABC News that she likely suffers from “tanerexia”:

When you look at this, this is somebody who has a problem who most likely has a condition called “tanerexia,” where they just don’t realize just how much color they have. She’s at higher risk for skin cancer, and it also doesn’t send the right message to her child.

Past research has proven that tanning bed users exhibit brain changes during a tanning session that mirror those seen in drug addicts. The brains of those using indoor tanning showed activation in the regions associated with pleasure-seeking and reward–similar to what we may feel when we eat sweets or drink alcohol.

Study author, Dr. Bryon Adinoff, explained how some people can get sucked in to this:

Using tanning beds has rewarding effects in the brain so people may feel compelled to persist…even though it’s bad for them.

Bust just because tanning makes some people feel good, does that mean they are addicted or they have mental health issues? Clearly, this woman has a dependence on tanning, and that could signal a legitimate medical condition. People who continue to do things that are harmful to their bodies and cannot stop are often addicts.

So, yes, it does seem like she has an addictive personality trait here, but does that mean she needs mental health counseling? And should her little girl be allowed to continue living with her? Those are the top questions swirling around right now…

Tell us what you think!

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    • Christy smith

      Something is very wrong with this lady, how could she look in a mirror and believe she looks good in any way shape or form, this is scary and her children are going to think it’s ok. Does anyone in her family, adults care about her or tell her she is going overboard. I am sorry but if she continues the children are going to lose a mother to cancer.