Nyctophobia is the extreme or irrational fear of the night or of darkness.
Nyctophobia is an extreme fear of night or darkness that can cause intense symptoms of anxiety and depression. A fear becomes a phobia when it’s excessive, irrational, or impacts your day-to-day life.
Being afraid of the dark often starts in childhood and is viewed as a normal part of development.
Studies focused on this phobia have shown that humans often fear the dark for its lack of any visual stimuli. In other words, people may fear night and darkness because they cannot see what’s around them.
While some fear is normal, when it starts to impact daily life and sleep patterns, it may be time to visit your doctor.
The symptoms you may experience with nyctophobia are much like those you would experience with other phobias.
People with this phobia experience extreme fear that causes distress when they’re in the dark. Symptoms may interfere with daily activities, and school or work performance.
They may even lead to health issues.
Different phobias share similar symptoms.
These signs may be either physical or emotional. With nyctophobia, symptoms may be triggered by being in the dark or even thinking about situations where you’d find yourself in the dark.
Physical symptoms of Nyctophobia include:
Racing heart rate
Chest tightness or pain
Shaking, trembling, or tingling sensations
Lightheadedness or dizziness
Hot or cold flashes
Emotional symptoms of Nyctophobia include:
Overwhelming feelings of anxiety or panic
An intense need to escape the situation
Detachment from self or feeling “unreal”
Losing control or feeling crazy
Feeling like you may die or lose consciousness
Feeling powerless over your fear
Normal fears versus phobias.
Having some fear of the dark doesn’t necessarily mean you have a phobia.
However, when the fear starts interfering with your everyday life, it may be considered irrational fear.
Here are some scenarios to help illustrate the difference between a normal and irrational fear.