2022-Are You Afraid of the Dark? What’s Not Normal, Why It Happens and How to Treat It


After I was younger, like many youngsters, I used to be afraid of the darkish. I refused to let my mother and father shut the bed room door, lest I be plunged into full darkness. The closet could not be opened in any respect: My thoughts would think about one thing was watching me from its depths. I’d beg my mother and father to go away the corridor gentle on till I fell asleep. (I’ve since gained an understanding of how electrical energy payments work, which is arguably extra scary.)

Being afraid of the darkish is usually related to childhood, largely occurring in youngsters ages 6 to 12, in response to the Cleveland Clinic. Nevertheless it’s not unusual for the difficulty to proceed into maturity. Regardless that my thoughts has put many darkness-related fears to relaxation, there stay moments after I’m in full darkness that I really feel a pang of hysteria.

But when it isn’t unusual, when does a traditional concern of the darkish develop into a bigger drawback? Why are we afraid of the darkish in any respect? Are you able to recover from your concern of the darkish? This is all the pieces it’s good to know.

Is it regular for adults to be afraid of the darkish? 

In response to E-conolight, an organization that focuses on LED lights, almost 50% of respondents surveyed in 2020 stated they’re afraid of the darkish as adults.

Like many anxieties, in case your concern begins to intervene with every day life, it needs to be examined extra intently. In response to CNET’s sister website Healthline, nyctophobia is an excessive or irrational concern of the darkish or evening. 


Concern of the darkish and insomnia usually go hand in hand.

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Folks with nyctophobia could be triggered by being at nighttime or imagining being at nighttime. These triggers can set off signs that manifest bodily and emotionally. An individual with nyctophobia could exhibit signs akin to panic assaults, like hassle respiration, chest tightness, shaking or trembling, in addition to an intense want to flee the state of affairs, detachment from self and feeling powerless over your concern. 

An individual with a traditional concern of the darkish could really feel uneasy in darkish house or really feel a bit anxious at evening. An individual with nyctophobia could lose sleep or modify their every day routine to keep away from darkish locations (like forgoing a visit to the movie show). In response to the Cleveland Clinic, nyctophobia and insomnia are intertwined: Individuals who have hassle sleeping may also subsequently develop nyctophobia. These with nyctophobia could sleep with the lights on to abate their fears, however this could make sleep troublesome.

Why are folks afraid of the darkish?

An individual could be afraid of the darkish for a lot of causes. For me (and certain many others), I discover a rise in anxiousness in darkish locations after consuming spooky media earlier than bedtime. Through the years, researchers have proposed extra scientific theories and potential explanations.


Typically, it isn’t the darkish itself that is scary… however the concern of what is perhaps hidden at nighttime.

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Being afraid of the darkish could harken again to the earliest days of humankind, in response to a CNN report. Our ancestors shortly adopted an enormous rule for survival: The darkish supplies cowl for harmful predators on the prowl, so it have to be prevented. 

Mainly, it is much less doubtless that you simply’re afraid of the darkish itself. As a substitute, chances are you’ll concern the unknown and unseen. 

“In the dead of night, our visible sense vanishes, and we’re unable to detect who or what’s round us. We depend on our visible system to assist defend us from hurt,” Martin Antony, professor of psychology at Ryerson College in Toronto, stated within the report.

Hectic or traumatic occasions, genetics or youngsters being round anxious or overprotective caregivers can improve the chance of being fearful of the darkish. 

Are there therapies for concern of the darkish? 

In case your anxieties or adverse emotions about being in darkness have been unmanageable for six months or extra, chances are you’ll need to have a look at remedy choices. Cognitive remedy will help you perceive the basis of your anxieties and the way they relate to your concern of the darkish. Remedy may also assist prepare your thoughts to hunt extra optimistic or logical options in occasions of panic, in addition to assist abate any disgrace chances are you’ll really feel about being afraid of the darkish. 

Healthline additionally advised exposure therapy, which entails exposing your self to the darkish repeatedly till it now not prompts a concern response. In 2020, a number of research round publicity remedy — particularly in vivo publicity, or dealing with your concern in actual life — confirmed that 80% to 90% of participants responded positively.

For much less excessive instances, you possibly can attempt leisure methods or meditation. Deep respiration and mindfulness could make it easier to handle the bodily anxiousness signs. Should you suppose you or your youngster has nyctophobia, contact a physician or psychologist to debate choices. 

The data contained on this article is for instructional and informational functions solely and isn’t meant as well being or medical recommendation. All the time seek the advice of a doctor or different certified well being supplier relating to any questions you might have a couple of medical situation or well being aims.


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