Tathagata Das

Symptoms, causes and treatment of Fear From Darkness(Nyctophobia)

What is Fear From Darkness(Nyctophobia)?

Let's bring some nostalgia back into the frame. Go back to your childhood and think about the circumstance when your parents used to turn off the light and a fear used to stick to us that there was something under our bed and it's going to grab our legs anytime. Quite stupid, if you think back now, isn't it so? But some for some people it's not. They are still stuck to this nightmare and they just can't simply pull themselves out of it.


A common term used to describe the fear of darkness and night time. Nyctophobia (also known as scotophobia, lygophobia or achluophobia) has been derived from the Greek word “Nuktos” meaning night or darkness. The intense and irrelevant fear of darkness leads many people to avoid any night routine or dark places completely. This can be a severe interruption in the everyday life of a person. A person having nyctophobia is not scared of finding any unusual or paranormal element in the darkness but scared of the darkness for no specific reason at all. The fear can be triggered just by a thought or anticipation of being in dark.

Now the question arises that how common is Nyctophobia? Well, the results are devastating. According to scientific research, almost 90% of children suffer from such fear. And if not checked early, it is likely to retain to adulthood.


Symptoms Of Nyctophobia

Any type of phobia can cause extreme discomfort to the person having the same. Sometimes the mental distress is so painful that people do not hesitate to hurt themselves. Generally, Nyctophobia symptoms may affect the study, work and social interaction of the person

In this kind of situation, one can feel both physical and mental discomfort

Physical symptoms are 

  1. Difficulty in normal respiration and chest tightness
  2. Pounding heart rate
  3. Body shivering
  4. emptiness in stomach
  5. extreme sweating
  6. Feeling heavy and migraine pain

Mental symptoms are

  1. Extreme anxiety and panic attack
  2. The feeling of the presence of someone
  3. Extreme fear and unnatural sightings
  4. Near to death experience

Causes Of Nyctophobia

  1. A Traumatic Experience which had been experienced during childhood, a common example could be the fear that gets stuck as soon as the lights go out, that there might be something/someone under the bed.
  2. Weak mental health could also be a factor to consider. We are quite aware of the fact that there are some among us who are strong my heart and again there are some who are not.
  3. Having a preconception of associating nighttime with the evil doers. You have certainly heard especially from your grandmother that during nighttime, all the evil creatures roam around in our planet.

mental health of child

Treatment Of Nyctophobia

Phobias should not be ignored for a long time. It may cause permanent mental damage and turn a person mad. There are more than 100 unique phobias. Some have a common nature and some are extremely rare. Be it a fear from spider, snake or ghost every one of them has some scary aspect and devastating effect on people.

Some popular treatment technique used in case of Nyctophobia

  • If you want to stop smoking you have to smoke the worst cigarette consecutively. This type of therapy called exposure therapy Peoples are exposed to face difficult situations to gain control over it.
  • Cognitive therapy is used to make people aware of the reality. It explains the reason and science behind to overcome the fear
  • Relaxation is the best self-treatment on this phobia. If you are bothered by something and too involved in it. Your brain will get damaged by certain amount irrespective of the nature of it. Sometimes too much involvement in positive things also can harm our mind and move our perception to a narrow region. Best way to avoid this kind of deadlock is to relax. Involve yourself with the things you like. It could be anything like hanging around with friends, watching a movie, do a painting, etc. Meditation can greatly help people to take control of their mind
  • Medication is the last resort if nothing works. For uncontrollable situations, one should control with psychiatrists and take proper medication of cognitive behavioral therapy.

relax a bit

Whatever the case may be, it is such a phobia, if not treated earlier might cause trouble later on. This article is mainly for all my parent readers, try to seek out whether your child also has Nyctophobia or not. If you find some symptoms, don't hesitate to consult a psychiatrist for counseling. Hope you find this article informative.

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