Sun Addiction: Evolutionary Survival Advantage?
The term “sun addiction” is used to describe individuals who are unable to resist the allure of sunlight. They have developed a strong compulsion to spend time outdoors in the sun. These individuals may be physically active, but they tend not to engage in strenuous physical activity. Their lives revolve around their desire for sunlight. Some of these individuals become so obsessed with the sun that they will go out of their way to seek it out even if there are other opportunities available.
OCD or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is often confused with sun addiction. It involves a series of thoughts and behaviors that an individual is unable to control. It is a mental disorder that affects a person’s ability to think rationally.
People suffering from this disorder will feel the need to engage in certain ritualistic behaviors. These can include hand-washing, door-checking, or even repeatedly checking that electrical appliances are turned off. These rituals must be completed, or the individual will feel great anxiety. In some instances, these rituals are so severe that they can interfere with the person’s life. Some people may display other compulsive behaviors such as anxiety or even depression.
Sunlight is not the only cause of compulsive behaviors. For example, people who suffer from tanorexia compulsively seek out ultraviolet radiation. This may involve tanning beds or other sun lamps.
They may go to extremes such as burning themselves in an effort to get the sunlight they so desperately desire. Tanning salons have become a popular place for individuals with tanorexia to satisfy their cravings. So-called “bed maniacs” seek out these salons and may even spend several hours a day in them. They may feel uncomfortable if they do not get their daily dose of UV rays.
Other compulsive behaviors include heliophilia, or sexual arousal from sunlight. This is a topic that is not well-researched, but it has been suggested that it may exist. People with this condition may feel sexual arousal while basking in the sun or near sources of bright light.
Another compulsive behavior is called solardesire. This involves a deep need to be in the sun or around bright lights. In more severe cases, an individual may feel anxiety or even pain if they are not exposed to sunlight.
Even less is known about soliphilia. This is a condition in which individuals develop a sexual arousal from sunlight. It has only been recently recognized as a diagnosable condition.
It is not well understood and very little information about it can be found on the internet.
Many of these conditions are fairly new, because they have only recently been classified as diagnoses. They may have been present for quite some time, but were not identified until recently.
The symptoms of these conditions can range from mild to severe. In some cases, they may not even be noticeable to the sufferer or those around them.
There is no known cure for any of the conditions discussed in this brochure. However, there are treatment options. It is important to seek help if you or someone you know experiences symptoms of these conditions.
If you feel that you are experiencing symptoms of sun addiction, here are some ways that you can help yourself:
Avoid unnecessary exposure to sunlight or bright lights. This means that you should try to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and wide-brimmed hats. Sunglasses are also recommended.
Wearing gloves can help prevent unnecessary handling of your skin.
Try to keep your activities indoors during peak sunlight hours. This will help limit your exposure to sunlight.
Take a vitamin B supplement daily. Studies have shown that people with low levels of B-complex vitamins are more likely to develop sun addictions.
Avoid visiting tanning salons.
Seek treatment from a qualified professional or support group.
If you feel that you may have a severe case of sun addiction, it is important to seek help from a medical professional right away. A doctor can perform tests to see if you are exhibiting signs of the condition. If they determine that you are, there are several treatment options.
Prescription medication. A doctor can write a prescription for a drug that can help alleviate your symptoms. However, there is no such thing as a “sun overdose,” so do not try to take more than the recommended dose.
An oxygen chamber. This treatment involves spending several hours a day in an oxygen chamber. Some doctors believe that this can help alleviate your cravings for sunlight.
A psychiatrist or psychologist. If your condition is strongly linked to mental health, it may be treated with proper counselling and therapy.
A support group. Many people who suffer from severe sun addictions find success through support groups. These are composed of people who have similar conditions and offer each other encouragement and advice.
As you can see, there are many different types of solar conditions. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek help as soon as possible.
Help Is Out There
If you have any additional questions about these conditions or need help finding a qualified professional, please contact the Solar Addiction Help Line. We are here to help.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Proteic toxin-antitoxin, bacterial plasmid addiction systems and their evolution with special reference to the pas system of pTF-FC2 (DE Rawlings – FEMS microbiology letters, 1999 – academic.oup.com)
- Comparative metagenomic analysis of plasmid encoded functions in the human gut microbiome (BV Jones, F Sun, JR Marchesi – BMC genomics, 2010 – Springer)
- Brothers in arms: DNA enzymes, short interfering RNA, and the emerging wave of small-molecule nucleic acid-based gene-silencing strategies (…, CR Dass, MJ Cairns, EG Saravolac, LQ Sun… – The American journal of …, 2007 – Elsevier)
- The extended evolutionary synthesis and addiction: The price we pay for adaptability (T Calvey – Progress in brain research, 2017 – Elsevier)
- Sugar addiction: is it real? A narrative review (JJ DiNicolantonio, JH O’Keefe… – British Journal of Sports …, 2018 – bjsm.bmj.com)
- Just like the rest of evolution in Mother Nature, the evolution of cancers may be driven by natural selection, and not by haphazard mutations (J Zhang, X Lou, L Zellmer, S Liu, N Xu, DJ Liao – Oncoscience, 2014 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Persistent androgen receptor addiction in castration-resistant prostate cancer (MT Schweizer, YY Evan – Journal of hematology & …, 2015 – jhoonline.biomedcentral.com)