Nyctophobia: People Afraid of the Dark


Reasons Why People Are Afraid of the Dark


people afraid

In everything, there is dark and there is light; but what if light doesn’t appear? Imagine standing in an empty room devoid of light, and there is someone or something approaching slowly toward you. Isn’t that thought scary?

People afraid of the dark are called to have nyctophobia. It occurs when a person imagines different—often negative—scenarios when they are in the dark. Phobias usually begin during childhood. Being afraid of the dark is a normal emotion we can develop, especially for children. However, it becomes a phobia after a person experiences an event that they cannot forget.

There are many answers to the question Why are people afraid of the dark? For one, an unforgettable and bad experience in the dark may have happened in their childhood. Another is when they feel alone and they cannot identify when someone or something is approaching them. This fear may also stem from their imaginative minds. They imagine that there is someone or something standing at the door even though it’s just their curtain.

When a person has nyctophobia, they experience palpitations, they breathe faster than the normal, and some end up hysterical. They may lose appetite, and they feel afraid sleeping alone because of the experience they went through. Remember, people who are afraid of the dark often fall victim to their own thoughts and what-ifs.

Aside from darkness, other fears people have are fear of heights, flying insects, snakes, dogs, and more. People who are afraid of heights are considered to have developed acrophobia. When a person is afraid of heights, he or she can’t enjoy games and activities that involve heights like skydiving and mountain climbing.

However, there are ways to overcome these fears—therapy, unwinding, and consultation being the most effective. If you are afraid of dogs (also called cynophobia), you need to expose yourself to dogs. Try calmly petting a dog because they can sense the energy humans give off. Just relax and slowly stroke or scratch the dog’s head.

If you feel your phobia is becoming unmanageable, never forget to consult a doctor or therapist. Someone who experiences morbid fears needs someone to talk to help them overcome these fears.

There is no harm in trying. The only harm is when you are afraid to conquer your fears. Fear hinders you from growing up, experiencing new things, and enjoying life.

What fears you the most? Share how you conquered this fear in the comments below. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Grab a copy of my book, Underground Stories, for a collection of stories that keep you up at night.




Marcin, Ashley. 2017. “What Is Nyctophobia and How Is It Treated?” Health Line, September 29. Accessed January 23, 2018.

Olesen, Jacob. 2018. “Phobia List—The Ultimate List of Phobias and Fears.” Fear Of. Accessed January 23, 2018.

Tarantola, Andrew. 2013. “Why we’re Afraid of the Dark (and Why It’s Good That We Are) Gizmodo, October 31. Accessed January 23, 2018.



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by Rosalie H. Contino, PhD