If your friends and family joke that you’re addicted to Baja, they may be right. Researchers in Norway have identified seven signs that you may be addicted. They’ve used those signs to develop a test to help you figure out if your suffer from a Baja addiction.
The test, called the Baja Addiction Scale, is based on seven basic criteria, where all items are scored on the following scale: (1) Very rarely (2) Rarely (3) Sometimes (4) Often and (5) Very often. The signs are:
(i) You spend a lot of time thinking about Baja or a planned trip to Baja.
(ii) You feel an urge to visit Baja more and more.
(iii) You spend time in Baja to forget about problems in “the real world”.
(iv) You have tried to cut down on your time in Baja without success.
(v) You become restless, confused, disoriented or troubled if you are prohibited from visiting Baja.
(vi) You enjoy Baja so much that it has had a negative impact on your job/studies or hurts physically.
(vii) You can no longer relate to people that don’t share your addiction.
If you are, indeed, addicted, you’re not alone, researchers say. “The love for Baja has continued to increase rapidly. We are dealing with a subdivision of Baja addiction connected to traveler’s dilemma,” said Eyeluv B. Aha, who conducted the study. The traveler’s dilemma is the limbo state one experiences due to his/her love for travel when they recognize there’s nothing like sleeping in his/her own bed.
Aha heads the research project “Baja Addiction” at the University of La Paz where she has spent the last 46 years studying the illness. The results of her research have just been published in the journal Psychological Reports, under the difficult to find subsection – “Afflictions with No Solutions.
Aha said she sees some clear patterns in Baja addiction. “It occurs across all age groups but we have found that people who have a sense of adventure, love the outdoors and enjoy pleasant weather are more susceptible to the illness than those with lower scores on those traits,” she said. People who like being inside all day tend to be less at risk from Baja addiction. They visit Baja but rarely leave their rooms. “Women are more at risk of developing Baja addiction, probably due to the social nature of Baja,” Aha said. Aha said the research also shows that Baja addiction was related to extroversion. People with high scores on the new scale further tend to have a somewhat delayed sleep-wake rhythm. When they are in Baja they find themselves not wanting to sleep because of fear they will miss out on a life changing event.
The study was based on 26 million travelers — 14 million women and 12 million men.
Despite Aha’s findings, others are not as convinced about Baja-based addictions, especially those that have never visited the region.
“There are often underlying or co-occurring psychiatric disorders, such as weekend warrior syndrome, adrenaline addiction, perma-smile, or a disturbance in the ability to conform to social norms, all of which may explain the person’s addiction to Baja,” Lisa Green, Travel Savant at Baja.com recently told Krista Simmons in an interview for the article in NY Magazine called “The Weekend Escape Plan – Todos Santos. While she was not quoted, she offered this: “The question is, do we need another ‘disorder’ in the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), if the manifestations of Baja addiction can already be accounted for by well-described and better-validated conditions such as the “I live for Baja” syndrome?”
That, however, doesn’t mean that Baja.com is writing off the possibility of Baja-based addictions. Green believes that better research is needed to quantify these behaviors and she has committed to doing so. “We need far more study on this issue,” she says. In fact, our company is developing alternative treatments for people who feel they suffer from symptoms of Baja addiction, such our patented “Baja patch” which provides small doses of the chemicals found in the air in Baja, as well as a “Baja light‘ that gives off special rays that are similar to those found in Baja for those suffering from Baja withdrawal (as well as a gentle bronze tan).