An abnormal fear of the dark phobia is known as Achluophobia and it is believed to be caused by an extreme fear or anxiety caused by a negative experience from the past, perhaps in childhood. Fears are emotions that are produced from the subconscious mind and are triggered to protect us from danger. The subconscious has a purpose to initiate survival and create emotional reactions in order to warn or protect us. However, fears can become irrational and in the case for most of us, fear of the dark is usually illogical or unreasonable as we are usually safe. Symptoms of fear of the dark are that a person truly believes that if they are subjected to darkness, something will harm them. Physical symptoms can appear such as trembling, heart palpitations, shallow breathing, panic attacks
, nausea and screaming or crying. Psychological symptoms can be as extreme and disturbing as a genuine belief that the person will die if they are subjected to darkness. There are several reasons why people may have a fear of the dark:
GHOSTS: It is extremely common for people to believe that if they are in darkness, they will see a ghost or spirit. Regardless of religious beliefs, the fear of seeing or hearing an evil or unwanted entity, is one of the biggest reasons people do not want to sleep in the dark.
CONTROL: If the person feels a strong need to constantly feel in control of their life, they do not want to be subjected to darkness for fear of feeling vulnerable or exposed.
MONSTERS: Most commonly thought of as a fear in children, but no matter what age you are, monsters can be a genuine fear of the dark. The monster under the bed or in the cupboard when we were a child is an instilled fear that many adults still feel is real.
CRIME: Understandably, a lot of crime is carried out at night in darkness, and many people who fear the dark believe that a burglar or criminal could enter their home in the night when they are sleeping. Adults with children will feel even more fear of the dark as they are naturally protective.
: Some people may fear the dark because their mind starts to race with thoughts or worries
of anxiety about what is going on in their current life. Having a dim light in the bedroom reduces feelings of uncertainties or burdens and gives them objects to focus on if they are lying awake.