Nyktofobiya - a disorder of the emotional and mental sphere, expressed in uncontrollable fear experienced by a person in the darkness of different origin (natural daily change or closed rooms without light). Often, phobia appears in childhood - about ninety percent of children have a varying degree of feeling of fear or anxiety in dark places. As they grow up, such a feature passes on its own due to the stabilization of the psycho-emotional sphere, but this does not happen to everyone. Those adults in whom the fear of darkness is inherent in niktophobia can experience serious life difficulties and need appropriate psychotherapeutic treatment.
The treatment of nyctophobia is a necessary moment in a person’s life, since the periodic experience of anxiety and panic shortens the life span and accelerates the aging process. Concentration and performance decrease, emotional instability, etc. appears, but other somatic spheres are also destroyed.
What it is
The first manifestations of nyctophobia begin when the child remains in the dark and is expressed by heightened anxiety. The root cause is usually a fright obtained in perinatal development (usually it is the fright of the mother, and the child is already in the dark) or psychotrauma in the early period. The consolidation of the fear of darkness is promoted by the presence of the same symptoms in one or both parents, an unstable emotional situation in the family, a disruption of the nervous system (conflicts, scandals, lack of love and care). In addition, it was observed that an only child is more prone to nyctophobia than those who have brothers or sisters.
The type of nervous system, sensitivity, development of imagination and the environment are the factors that form a stable or unstable type of nervous system, and, accordingly, the likelihood of developing fear of the night. This phobia is always formed in childhood, in order to acquire this feature in adulthood, a unique traumatic situation is necessary. Unfortunately, few adults, even recognizing such fears, can speak and seek help, considering it something childish or shameful.
As they grow up, manifestations of nyctophobia change, and if in childhood a child is afraid of any darkness (from the natural darkness of the day to darkness in the closet), then as an adult, it can transform into a fear of dark alleys or a critical level of discomfort from loneliness in the evenings.
If one describes the sensations of man himself, then it is not the darkness itself that frightens, but the possible dangers hidden in it. Such manifestations are justified by biological factors, because at night the visual acuity decreases, dangerous predators go hunting, which also evolutionarily programs to an increased level of attentiveness and, accordingly, anxiety at nightfall. A person is more afraid of his own imagination, which projects into the unknown darkness all existing fears and terrible fantasies.
The symptomatology of any disorder has several points due to which a specialist in the psychological or psychiatric sphere can diagnose abnormalities. Nyktofobiya includes signs characteristic of all phobic manifestations and specific reactions inherent only in this type of violation.
The general phobic manifestations include increased heart rate and difficulty breathing (shortness of breath, lack of oxygen, inability to inhale), causing headaches, nausea, vomiting. Possible loss of control of varying degrees of their own movements - from light tremor of limbs to the inability to perform any movement or even elementary action. Fear affects speech, which can cause stuttering, numbness, diction.
The features of niktofobii are the intensification of the above symptoms, an increase in panic and anxiety when approaching the dark time of day or possible options for dark rooms (approaching the tunnel, the need to go through an unlit room, etc.).
A high level of experiences makes a person constantly, manic-vigilantly monitor his own mental security, protecting his life from possible dark periods. This is manifested in the constant verification and enhancement of the security of the home against possible hacks and attacks, constant thorough re-checking of the serviceability of lighting and other personal manifestations of prevention. It is characteristic that a person who performs such actions does not evaluate his behavior with a sufficient level of criticality, is prone to rationalization and a constant explanation of his not quite logical and reasonable behavior. Sometimes in adulthood, this can lead to scandals on the basis of misunderstanding of the family of painful symptoms.
Distant manifestations that are not directly related to the dark time of the day, but they are a symptom of a disorder affecting many areas of life. It may be eating disorders (loss of appetite due to fear, overeating in trying to cope with anxiety), alcohol and psychoactive substances may be used as ways to relax. Frequent flashes of irritability, insomnia, crying, a tendency to compulsive recheck of their actions and the surrounding space are signs indicating a long-term negative impact of a phobia on a person’s life.
How to get rid of niktofobii
The options for coping with nyctophobia are varied, while the medication effect is simple from the point of view of the suffering person (he took the pill - and forgot), but the latest and least effective way. It is worth starting with rational thoughts and assessing your condition and its causes. So, if the fear of darkness appeared when moving to a new dysfunctional area, and you have plywood doors, then a course of pills and psychotherapy can easily be replaced by a reliable protection installation or moving. If fear is associated with the need to move in strange places in the dark, it is best to enroll in self-defense courses and learn more about the specifics of their activities.
If this fear is present for a long time, then it is necessary to find its cause. Perhaps there was a traumatic situation (night attack or disaster), or maybe you regularly watch thrillers and horrors before bedtime. In the first variant, it is recommended to work with one's own ability to analyze the situation for danger, it is good to go through several sessions of psychotherapy of a traumatic experience. If you yourself provoke your fears, then, most likely, the phobia will begin to significantly decrease as soon as you change the genre of literature and cinema. Create comfort in the bedroom without unnecessary irritation. Terrible shadows outside the window can be removed with the help of blinds, sounds can be eliminated by using double-glazed windows and repairing all the anti-pudding devices in the house.
Work on stabilizing the nervous system and mood constantly. Here meditation practices, aroma oils and breathing exercises, stress relief in the gym will help. The more you strengthen the nervous system, the less it is subject to unfounded fears. At night, you can drink soothing teas or herbal tea or go to the pool in the evening.
Treatment of niktofobiya in adults is psychotherapeutic methods, since the drugs give only a temporary unstable effect. Works well with various fears, body-oriented and cognitive-behavioral therapy. For children it is better to use the creation of favorable conditions for sleep - the inclusion of a night lamp, pleasant music, reading bedtime stories. You can bring a toy protector from monsters, put it under the bed or come up with your own ritual or totem that protects the child from possible dangers in the dark. The main thing is that everything happens taking into account personal fears and be playful.