Why Are People Afraid Of The Dark?

Alex Clarkson
Alex Clarkson


The name itself has a mystery to it. Like you don’t know what it’s hiding. Or if it’s just the mere absence of light. Does it have a shape or a depth? You will never know.

That’s why it’s common to have a kind of repulsion against the dark. It’s okay if you didn’t grow out of it. However, knowing the reasons behind all this might help you overcome it.

So, why are people afraid of the dark?

Lack of security is the most common reason. Besides evolutionary traits, hallucination, and overthinking tendencies are other reasons for this phobia. A lot of people are also afraid of the presence of any existence, lack of sight, or vulnerability in the dark. However, one can overcome this fear by following some treatment procedures.

These are some of the reasons why a lot of people are afraid of the dark. If you still have questions, spare us a minute and read along. 

Because we’re here to make you understand the mechanism and treatment of this phobia.

Are you ready?

Why Are People Afraid Of The Dark: Is It A Phobia?

Yes! But I don’t think one should be worried about it. There are phobias in the world far worse than this. But all of them can be healed. And this one is not any different.

So what is the fear of dark called?

This phobia is known as nyctophobia. It also has other names. Such as- lygophobia, achluophobia, and scotophobia. This usually means the fear of darkness or night. Some people think this phobia is evolutionary. And to some, it has to do with past experience.

This phobia often fades away as people age. However, some people struggle to overcome this even at an old age. That’s when one should start to consider taking treatments.

Reasons Why People Are Afraid Of The Dark

reasons why people are afraid of the dark

Like any other phobia, nyctophobia is caused by certain factors. A lot of those have not been proved yet. They are just hypothetical.

However, finding out the precise reason for your fear will help reduce the effect. You’ll be able to face your fear soon. The first step for achieving this is to accept the problem. Once you do, the rest of the steps will be easy.

Although the reasons are not solid, let us take a look at them. They’ll give us some ideas about the fear of darkness.

The Loss Of Sight

We depend on our sight for almost everything in our life. It’s one of the most powerful senses of a person. Our sight gives us a sense of protection and safety. We feel more confident as we see all the actions happening around us.

For this reason, people use glowing tapes for navigating in the dark. So that one doesn’t have to move around in pitch-black darkness.

In case you feel lost in darkness, this can light up your path!

Moreover, if we can’t see anything, it makes us feel insecure. And we start worrying about the mystery of darkness.This insecurity turns into fear. And that’s how we start avoiding darkness.

The Sense Of Unknown Presence

Do you run to your bed after switching off the light? If yes, you’ve got a problem with the sense of presence. Remember the monster under the bed? That’s also a cause of the fear of darkness.

Darkness has no depth and we think it has so much to hide. Anything could be hidden behind the blackness. Whenever there’s a shadow in the corner, we feel there’s a presence. And that’s what makes us shiver. 

This also makes us anxious whenever we see darkness is around. If we don’t stop overthinking, it’ll get worse.

The Evolutionary Trend

This is one of the theories people believe that causes nyctophobia. They believe the cause of this fear is because of the predators. Because they used to hunt at night. And people during the stone age used to take necessary protection against them. 

People back then used to be afraid of the darkness for this reason. And this fear has made its way to this generation as a hereditary trait. And for that reason, some people can’t help but suffer from fear of darkness.

The Sense Of Vulnerability

More than 50% of the crimes occur at night time. Have you ever wondered why? It’s because people are most vulnerable in the dark. The darkness makes them fearful. Because we lose our sense of security. 

This absence of security makes us afraid of the dark. That’s why people tend to keep the night lights on when they are asleep.

The Active Brain

In the daytime, we keep ourselves busy with work. And that’s why our brains are always distracted by other thoughts. No one has the time to think about their sad and guilty times.

However, when we are in the dark, our thoughts become louder. And our brains become active with unnecessary thoughts. They are filled with the saddest moments of our lives or past mistakes. 

These thoughts make us guilty and anxious. And our

Hallucination And Curiosity

hallucination and curiosity

We already know how active our brains remain in darkness. And that’s when our subconscious thoughts come to life. We see our imagination right in front of our eyes. And these thoughts make us scared of the darkness.

When people hallucinate, they also tend to grow a sense of curiosity. They feel like the darkness around them has some sort of meaning. And they keep on searching for the answers to their question. 

The pitch-black surrounding makes us question every small scrape, every movement, and every distorted shadow. This makes people suffer from severe anxiety.

What Are The Solutions To Nyctophobia

You can only overcome this when you’ve accepted the fact that you have a problem. So now you can take steps towards decreasing your anxiety.

Here are some treatments for overcoming your fear of darkness-

  • Exposure treatment: Face your fears using the desensitization method.
  • Talking therapy: Talk one-on-one with your friends or family.
  • Relaxation techniques: Use this technique to calm yourself down. Like deep breathing.
  • Medication: Intake of anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medicines.

Use nightlights: A good nightlight can save you from sleepless nights.


Question: Is it normal for adults to be afraid of the dark?

Answer: Of course it is! Fearing darkness is normal for many people. However, if it interferes with your normal life, start taking treatments for this.

Question: How can I get over my fear of the dark?

Answer: You can use different techniques to overcome your fear of darkness. You can talk to your friends and family. If that doesn’t help you, try the exposure and relaxation methods.

Question: At what age should you stop being afraid of the dark?

Answer: Children are more susceptible to this fear of the dark. However, it’s normal if any adults have the same. For children, it takes up to a few months to get over the fear of the dark. But some do not overcome the fear completely. So there’s no strict age limit for overcoming this phobia.

Signing Off

We hope you know why are people afraid of the dark. Now, you can start working on overcoming your nyctophobia. And one of the useful tricks is to always try and keep your head clear. That way your anxiety level will start decreasing.

Let us know if you have found out the reasons for your fear in the comments.

Until then, keep calm and stay strong.

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