Nyctophobia – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Nyctophobia is the fear of darkness, This term is derived from two Greek words, “nyx” meaning night, and “Phobos” meaning fear.

Fear changes into a phobia when the fear becomes too extensive and irrational another way of classifying fear into phobia is by the scale of impact in plays in day-to-day life.

Nyctophobia, which refers to the fear of darkness, is typically something that starts right from childhood.

On the other hand, it can also be caused due to disturbances that occur in the biological cycle of individuals. It is perfectly quoted by Sunday Adelaja that “Life is spent by different people in different ways”  to throw some light, fear of light is photophobia.

Normal fear v/s phobia:

Typically mammals at a young age would feel the fear of the dark, the newborn, when it visualizes the light for the first time feels it as a different experience and will have fear over it, this would lead to a loud cry. In the same way, various types of fear cannot be termed as a phobia unless and until it interferes the everyday life. So here is a table that would illustrate how one can differentiate between fear and phobia.




Having disturbed feeling on flying during a thunderstorm



Skipping a special occasion because you’d have to fly there



Feeling panicky about getting a flu shot



Avoiding health checkups because of the fear of the needle



Feeling distressed when lights are turned off at nights



Skipping to sleep at night as the night’s darkness seems to be distressed



The illustration above can indeed help a person to differentiate themselves whether they have fear or phobia in a particular scenario, this would help an individual to stop developing the fear into a phobia and an individual with a phobia to manage himself to get rid of the phobia.

The reality of fear: You are not scared of the dark but you are scared of what is in it. Throw of the inner feelings and feel the dark as the darkness of your inner self.


What are the symptoms of Nyctophobia?

Fundamentally, various types of phobias share the same or nearly close onset of symptoms. These indications may be either by or emotional way.

The discomfort can also reach an extent where people with such particular phobia may even be triggered by their cognitive action that results in finding themselves in the dark.

Physical symptoms can be listed as follows:

  • Trouble breathing
  • An increase in the pace of the heartbeat
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Shaking sensations
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach and sweating.

Emotional symptoms include overwhelming feelings in any aspect, such as anxiety or panic, an intense need to escape from the wall of fear, feeling “unreal”, losing control, feeling haphazard, and losing consciousness.

Causes of Nyctophobia:

Upshots to an article titled “Psi Chi Journal of physiological Research”, people from nyctophobia frequently report stronger feelings of fright when they confront darkness or make their path over shadow places.

The other side of the book also reveals that darkness also intensifies other senses of an individual. Throw light on this particular phrase when a person cannot view the source of noise or movement are more likely to go through a longer distance when they hear or sense something.

Treatments of Nyctophobia

A dynamic combination of home remedies and health care professionals’ help can likely give the best results to overcome nyctophobia.

Home remedies for nyctophobia include:

i)Phrase activation: Individuals with nyctophobia can try repeating confidence proving phrases such as “It is dark, but I am safe” when they experience darkness. Reiterating this phrase aloud can make a person’s adrenaline exaggeration normal.

ii)Pranayama: Deep breathing exercise can result in slowing down thoughts and promote sleep. Breathing exercises here include being aware of the air entering and leaving the nose and focusing on slow, deep breathing.

iii)Focusing on a positive image in the dark:  When a conscious person with nyctophobia has his controls on the stand can try to focus on his beloved pet, or someone whom he likes the most or the place which he desires to visit. This can decline the negative impacts of darkness over his inner soul.

iv)Muscle relaxation: This yogic technique involves sitting in a relaxed position and undergoing the process of perceiving the inner soul.

The different home remedies mentioned above can only help the person with nyctophobia when graded on a qualitative basis on how severe the phobia affects the individual, home remedies would be unproductive, so now in this particular level, mental health professionals treatments are the best way.


These treatments include :

i)Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT):

In this technique, the doctors speak in person with patients as a conversation and enlighten them with the effects of darkness on the brain.

ii)Exposure :

This therapy ultimately aims to “desensitize” the individual. This experience incrementally less anxiety each time they are in the dark.

iii) Medications :

Here sedatives that promote sleep and treat anxiety can help balance the biological cycle of the individual, which can be attributed to better results for individuals with nyctophobia.


Thus, realizing the deep darkness of the inner soul can eventually shatter down the fear of darkness when eyes are visualizing it. Self-confidence can overcome the wall of fear. It is time to turn on the lights in the darkroom.

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