Achluophobia is an irrational fear of darkness. It is also commonly referred to as lygophobia, nyctophobia, scotophobia, and myctophobia. Sufferers of this condition experience an immense fear of danger when face with complete darkness.
This specific phobia is extremely common in young children and women.
The symptoms of Achluophobia can vary widely from patient to patient. Some may experience physical symptoms of losing control, while others may imagine evil things trying to harm them. It’s common for these sufferers to avoid turning of the lights and to not get enough sleep each night.
The most common symptoms include:
- Loss of Mental Balance
- Sleepless Nights
- Irregular Heartbeat
- Inability to Speak
- Taking Extreme Steps To Avoid The Dark
In severe cases, sufferers may go into a full blown state of panic called an anxiety attacks. This will cause the sufferer to have difficulty breathing, trembling, excessive sweating, and an impeding sense of doom.
It’s very likely for past experiences to cause this sort of phobia to develop. If left untreated patients will continue to develop panic towards darkness, and this can reek havoc on both their personal and social areas of life. Sufferers tend to go out of their way to avoid darkness. They will refuse to go out after dark or even sleep with the lights on every night.
Watching television shows or horror movies where there are scary scenes that happen in the dark is a common cause of this phobia. The person actually believes what happens in these scary scenes may actually happen to them in reality.
Those who have witnessed a traumatic event in a dark area, such as being robbed in an alley, will develop Achluophobia as a response. They believe that in dark areas they may experience this traumatic event again. Even being in the dark can trigger them to relive the traumatic event over in detail.
These causes create the patient’s brain to associate danger with the thought of darkness. So everytime they are faced with darkness their mind puts their body into a state of panic.
This condition can be treated in a number of ways. Depending on the severity of the condition and the self-will of the patient certain options may be more effective than others.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – This is where a licensed therapist will sit down with you to discuss your brain’s connection to darkness and fear. Once they identify the cause of this irrational connection between your brain and the situation they will be able to help reprogram your thoughts to disassociate fear with the state of darkness.
Systematic Desensitization – With a skilled professional you will create different levels of overcoming darkness. This may be sitting in a dark corner, then turning off the light and sitting in the darkness for a few minutes. Each step will get closer and closer to the end result of facing darkness itself. By successfully completing each step towards the end goal you can desensitize your fears and emotions. You will come to learn that there is really no rational reason to be afraid of the darkness.
Self-Help Programs and Books – For those that have a strong self will for realizing their fear of darkness is completely irrational and want to move on from fearing it may be better off utilizing a self-help guide. These are plentiful online and many work to help you overpower your fear on your own.
If you are interested in trying a self-help program than we suggest you check this out.