Don't Let Your Fear Of The Dark Control Your Life!
In most cases, children are able to overcome their fear of the darkness before they are 10 years old, utilizing either conventional methods such as installing a nightlight or due to the sense of invulnerability proprietary to the demographic. However, San Diego therapy specialists suggest that for some people, this phobia never disappears and they are forced to live with it for the rest of their lives if they do not seek treatment.
In the psychology community, the phobia is generally referred to as Nyctophobia, but other terms have also been used to describe it, including Lygophobia, Achluphobia or Scotophobia. The problem with individuals who are suffering from this condition is that it is not the idea of a threat stalking them from the shadows that mortifies them, but rather the darkness itself.
How does the fear of the dark manifest?
Because other people and even the media have a tendency of ridiculing and trivializing the idea of being scared by the dark, most patients will refuse to seek counseling and will simply modify their behavioral patterns in a manner that enables them to avoid stressful situations. In other words, they will steer clear of dark locations, they will leave all lights open at night, they will carry several light sources with them at all times, etc.
These erratic behaviors can be accompanied by a physical symptomatology, which includes panic attacks and shortness of breath when the person is distressed, an accelerated pulse and excessive sweating. The Nyctophobia patients can also begin to tremble uncontrollably or become dizzy and some reported intense chest pains.
What determines the development of Nyctophobia?
There is no specific pattern for all individuals that suffer from this phobia, but the generally accepted explanation resides in the association of a traumatic experience with the dark. As long as the trauma is not dealt with, the phobia of the dark is also perpetuated. An alternative explanation given by therapists is that the Nyctophobia is only a superficial facet of a fear that has been buried deeper into the subconscious of the patient. Individuals who are more susceptible to experience anxiety at elevated levels have a higher chance to develop Nyctophobia.
Is Nyctophobia treatable?
Fortunately yes, the medical community can help anyone get over this irrational fear of the darkness. It has been suggested that the relaxation techniques such as yoga can also be utilized successfully, but it is better to leave matters in the hands of professionals. However, if you intend to attempt treating yourself, then in addition to relaxation techniques you should also start by rationalizing your condition and convincing yourself that the threat is only in your head. It also helps to learn more about the mechanisms of phobias.
With respect to seeking professional help, the most widespread method of curing Nyctophobia at the moment is through a cognitive behavioral therapy referred to as gradual exposure. Gradual exposure is successfully utilized in the treatment of numerous other phobias and it consists in subjecting the patient to a direct confrontation with the object of his terror over the course of several sessions that increase in duration when he begins to make progress. San Diego therapy professionals can also administer medication in order to permit those with severe forms of Nyctophobia to face their fear without experiencing a powerful panic attack.