Fear of the Dark
What is Fear of the Dark?
Fear of darkness (Achluophobia/Nyctophobia), is a common phobia among children, but adults can also have this phobia. It is not far from the dark itself but fear from some danger (monsters, animals or etc.) that could come out the dark. Although people think that it is related only to children up to 12 years old, many adults also have the same problem.
This phobia is the fourth most common phobia in the US after fear of public speaking, fear of death and fear of spiders. In 2018 11% of the population had this phobia problem, and they were mostly adults! Fear of the dark is even more related to children, so roughly 73% of them have this phobia.
Some interesting facts about Fear of Darkness or Achluophobia or Nyctophobia are:
- People rely on the sense of sight when there is light, and on the sense of hearing when there is no light
- Higher day temperatures and lower temperatures during the night are responsible for more sounds, because, house or building is expanding and contracts
- In most countries, children sleep with their parents thus they have a lower risk to develop fear of the dark
- The start of this problem is when children are waking up their parents because of this fear only then its accepted as a phobia
- Young children cannot make a difference between truth and reality and they are expecting some “magical’’ solution for this problem
- They also cannot make a difference between jokes, teasing and etc.
Symptoms of Fear of the Dark:
Symptoms of Fear of darkness (Achluophobia/Nyctophobia) are very easy to notify. A person who is having fear of the dark often sleep with lights turned on, they are nervous before entering in a dark room or before night and they usually avoid going out at night or even in dark rooms. Health symptoms are: increased heart rate, increase blood pressure, sweating and shaking. If Achluophobia is severe, a person can avoid going into dark places or even go out at night. They can be extremely angry and defensive if someone is forcing them to confront their fear or if someone is mocking them. In some cases, they can even attack possible threat because they believe they are fighting for their life. It is extremely important not to force those people on anything that is associated with dark.
7 Steps on Overcoming the Fear of the Dark
There are many treatments and solution for fear of darkness (Achluophobia/Nyctophobia). In severe cases going to the physician is necessary, but in lighter cases, people can “cure” themselves using some basic steps. They are:
- The first step is the most important. Before going into the bed, you should turn off any electronic devices that you could possibly hear while you are in bed. Avoid drinking coffee or some other potion with caffeine in it, and avoid watching late movies or shows (where is a lot of violence, blood or anything that is stressful). Before going into bed, just sit for 10 minutes and try to relay. Try telling the facts that there is nothing that can hurt you, and how many people are sleeping or working in dark places without fear. Also try finding something that calms you down, the gentle music of some potion.
- Gradually start shutting down the lights. You do not need to turn off all the light in the house. You can start dimming them first or leave one light in another room or nightlight. Try convincing yourself that sleeping in a dark room is much healthier than sleeping in the light rooms. Because you have a longer and deeper sleep, your body is relaxed and resting much better and much faster. Also, give yourself some goal, like in a few weeks I want to sleep when the lights turned off, and start working on that goal.
- You probably think that something is in your closet or under the bed. Try and confront those fears, get up, and check under the bed or wherever you think there is something. If you woke up in the night do the same, because you will sleep longer after you confront your fears.
- Leave a bit of light turned on. Don’t think that you are the only person who is sleeping with their light turned on. Many people are sleeping in the same way. Usually, it is better to leave some nightlight or some lamp in the corner of your room, it will give you a higher sense of peace and it will be easier if you must use a bathroom during the night.
- Make your room a much happier place. Don’t put any furniture on huge stacks of clothes, because you may think that something is under them. Hang out some interesting pictures on the wall, some you think they are relaxing and makes you happy. Use bright colors, avoid red and black furniture or carpets. If you make your room much more pleasant place, you will want to spend more time there.
- If you really want to stop fearing the dark, try to sleep alone. Many of you want to sleep with their parents, siblings or pets. This is good in the beginning, but after some time you must start sleeping alone. Pets are very useful in this process. Allow them to sleep in your bed (at your feet) or is a separate bed in your room. After some period try to put them in another room so you can sleep alone.
- At the end talk to yourself. Accept that you have this phobia and don’t be ashamed. Tell other people about your problem, maybe some can help you. And always think about your house and your bed as a safe and happy place.
Phobia of darkness (Achluophobia/Nyctophobia) isn’t something that is related only to kids. It is a serious problem for many people, maybe you already know some person, but probably many of them are hiding this fact. Although this was a huge problem in the past, today there are many ways to beat this fear. Try these steps, if they don’t work for you, you must visit a doctor. Almost every treatment is 100% successful.
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