Many people, both adults and children experience fears of all kinds; for the most part, being scared of spiders or feeling a little uncomfortable in enclosed spaces does impact too much on daily life, however when the fear is all-consuming it can really make life hard for those who suffer from phobias. Some phobias such as a fear of clowns, or a fear of flying can be avoided in order to manage the fear, but when it comes to a fear of the dark, this can be hard to cope with as darkness is unavoidable on a daily basis. Fear of the dark can stop people from going outside at night, it can make them run away from darkened rooms or even stop people from sleeping entirely. When you close your eyes but can’t help but imagine a murderer or intruder invading your home, or you turn a dark corner at night and your mind is filled with ghouls and ghosts irrationally, then it might be time to get some professional help.
Also known as ‘nyctophobia’, fear of the dark is irrational and can stem from either a traumatic experience related to darkness in childhood or a mental health illness such as depression or anxiety. Symptoms of nyctophobia can vary depending on age, for example children’s fear of the dark often manifests itself in bed wetting or thumb sucking whilst adults generally experience trouble sleeping as well as shallow breathing, heart palpitations and shivers.
With children, a fear of the dark can often be a normal factor in growing up and it can be something which children grow out of relatively quickly, but when this fear lingers into adulthood, that’s when the problems start to really arise.
If you have tried night lights, white noise, or keeping the TV on but want a more permanent solution to being able to sleep or even just cope with being in the dark, then there are a few better options available which can be used to manage the symptoms, one of which is hypnotherapy. Through one or more hypnotherapy sessions techniques such as ‘age regression’ will be employed to try and find the root or cause of the fear and then use this information to work on changing how the brain processes and reacts to darkness.
As well as hypnotherapy, other forms of therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be used to help the sufferer alter their thought patterns and change how they react to darkness and the thought of darkness.