Nictophobia: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

The Nicothobia (Fear of the dark) is an anxiety disorder, specifically a type of specific phobia in which the night or darkness is feared.

The phobia is a disorder characterized by the presence of clinically significant anxiety in response to exposure to situations or objects Specific.


Thus, Nicotophobia is a disorder that is characterized by the presence of clinically significant anxiety that is produced by situations in the Which is at night, it is dark or there is not enough lighting.

The fear or anxiety that is present in these situations is disproportionate, maladaptive and the person who suffers Nicotophobia is not able to explain his Fear rationally.

In addition, this problem is often very disabling since anxiety usually causes an automatic avoidance of the dreaded situation.

And is that if a person with Nictophobia exposes himself to the dreaded situation without avoiding it will immediately present an anxiety, fear or crisis response Of anguish.

Therefore, it will systematically avoid situations in which there is no light or it is very dark so as not to present anxiety.

However, as darkness becomes dark and situations in which there is no light are practically unavoidable, a person with Nictophobia will often present anxiety states.

This anxiety will cause you much discomfort and will prevent you from living in a calm and satisfying way.

But quiet! Nicotrophobia is a problem that can be managed and can be overcome if the relevant actions are carried out and effort is invested In getting it.

How to overcome nicotophobia

Fear of the dark

1. Do not settle for your fear

The first step in overcoming the fear of the dark is to realize that this is not rational and that it makes no sense to continue with it.

It is very probable that you already know perfectly well that your fear is irrational and disproportionate but it is not to know it but to be convinced.

You can think very often that your fear does not make any sense, that others do not happen to them and that the normal thing would be not to have it, but even then you are incapable of Control your phobia when the light disappears...

Well, let's work so your rational brain, which works perfectly and detects the fear of the dark as disproportionate, wins The departure to your emotional brain that invades your body with anxiety every time you are in the dark.

The goal is to be able to To control your emotions When fear seizes you.

For this, what you have to do is constantly test the idea you have about the darkness.

Make a list of all the evidence you have against the phobia, for example:

  • What reason do I have to be afraid of the dark?
  • Has the darkness ever caused me any damage?
  • Why are people during the night in the dark and nothing happens to them?
  • Is the dark a threat to me?

Ask questions like these to get rational ideas about the dark that are incompatible with your phobia.

The goal is to make a list as long as you can that will help you to think rationally about the darkness.

2. Look for your primary support

Once you are clear that your fear of the dark is irrational and that you must change it, it is convenient that you look for those people closest to you that you want That will help you overcome the Nicotrophobia.

If you have people at your side who help you calm down when you are in the dark, collaborate with you to identify the phobia as irrational, and throw you a Cable to fulfill the 10 steps you will have to follow, everything will be simpler.

It is recommended that people who are going to help also document what Nicotophobia is and how it can be treated.

If they do they will be able to help you in a more appropriate way, they will know better how to fight your idea of ​​fear about the dark and will understand better the reason of your Fears.

3. Give rest to your body

Another thing you have to do for your well-being and to be in a better position to fight your Nicotrophobia is to give rest to your body.

People who are afraid of the dark and are accustomed to sleeping lightly to avoid the dreaded situation, tend to feel tired and exhausted already That their rest, lacking in darkness, is much less refreshing.

And that sleeping with darkness and adequate rest is of vital importance for our well-being.

In order to give you the rest you need and eliminate the light while you sleep you can introduce in your bedroom a type of light that allows you to graduate your Intensity, so that when you sleep reduce it to the maximum you can.

4. Get Acquainted Gradually

Likewise, the previous exercise should also be used to gradually accustom you to the dark.

To do this, the most practical is to gradually remove the luminosity of your house. For example, by decreasing the light intensity of the Corridors and rooms.

The most useful thing of this technique is that it allows you to go exposing yourself very little by little to the dark without you feeling to hardly discomfort.

And is that if you lock yourself in a room that is totally dark, your anxiety will appear suddenly, the fear will take over you, and Surely you will run out of it as the discomfort you feel will be unbearable for you.

However, if this afternoon when you return from work the light bulbs in your house are of a slightly lower intensity than usual, you may not get Nor count and you will be able to support it without problem.

Keep this illumination and after a few days again lighten the light slightly. You see doing this exercise periodically so that your habituation to the darkness is gradual.

It is advisable that the change of the intensity of illumination is done by your relatives since in this way you will be less aware of the new Situation and you will get used to it more easily.

5. Imagine the darkness

Girl in the dark

The next step you will have to do is expose yourself to the dark but not directly, but with your imagination.

By doing this, the anxiety you feel will be less intense and you will be able to control it more easily.

To do so lie in bed or somewhere where you are comfortable and relaxed, close your eyes and begin to imagine situations of darkness.

Feel as you begin to notice that anxiety appears but at the same time you see remembering the thoughts about the irrationality of that fear to be able manage it.

Perform this exercise whenever you can to approach the darkness and overcome your fear.

6. Stay in dark places

Once you are able to properly perform exposure to darkness through imagination you will be prepared to expose yourself live.

In this case consists of controlled situations, stay in dark places and try to control your anxiety.

To do this choose a site known to you and to transmit security, such as a room in your house.

Close the blinds and lights so that the darkness is total or almost total, and try to stay in that situation for as long as possible.

When you enter the dark space the anxiety will begin to manifest, but your goal is to try to control it by repeating words that will produce you Tranquility and reinforce the idea that your fear is irrational, for example:

  • "There is no real threat in this situation."
  • "I'm in a dark place but nothing is going to happen to me."
  • "It does not make sense that I'm nervous because nothing's going wrong."
  • "The room is the same as this morning, the only thing that changes is that there is no light."

7. Relax

As the main symptom of your problem is anxiety is essential to know how to relax.

Makes Relaxation exercises Daily and above all before exposure practices so that when you are in dark situations, you are more Relaxed and your anxiety does not appear so easily.

One very useful exercise you can do is the following.

  1. Breathe deeply with the diaphragm, noticing how the air enters and leaves your belly.

  2. In every inspiration you make, repeat a word or phrase that conveys tranquility like"everything is going well"or"I am calm".

  3. At the same time, imagine a landscape that transmits calm and serenity

  4. If you want, you can play back some relaxation song with low volume.

Perform this exercise for about 10-15 minutes.

8. Make a behavioral contract

To strengthen the previous steps it is very useful to make a behavioral contract. The behavior contract, as its name implies, is a contract that will specify your behavior regarding Nicotrophobia.

However, like all contracts, you must do it with someone, you can not make a contract for yourself.

So, choose one of the people you chose in point two to help you through the process to overcome Nicotrophobia, and do the Contract with her

In the behavior contract you can specify anything, but the ones that are usually more useful are the following.

  • The intensity of light of the rooms of the house: For example during the first week will have an intensity 4, during the second week
    Intensity 3, during the third and fourth intensity 2, etc.
  • The intensity of the light with which you sleep (in the same way as the previous step).
  • The number of imaginative exercises you will do for a week.
  • The number of live shows you will do for a week.

You must agree between the two all these aspects, write them and sign them so that, later, you will fulfill them all.

This will strengthen your commitment and motivation.

9. Look for positive emotions

An effective technique for anxiety not to appear when you are in the dark is to try to appear other types of emotions.

To find those Positive emotions What you have to do is very simple: perform things or look for stimuli that are pleasing to you.

So, you can listen to music that you like while you are in a dark place and look for the positive emotions that that song conveys to you.

You can also be in the dark (or semi dark) while talking to a family member or friend, while watching your favorite TV series or reading a book.

The goal is to be able to not pay attention to the darkness and focus on the other stimuli that give you positive emotions.

10. Change your idea of ​​darkness

Finally, the ultimate goal that you must achieve with all of the above steps is to change your idea about the darkness.

You have imagined dark situations and you have managed to control your anxiety, you have been in places without light and nothing bad has happened to you, you have managed to feel Positive emotions when there was no light and you are increasingly believing that it does not make sense to have this fear.

So, you have to do a new exercise of analysis about what darkness is and realize that you do not have to be afraid of it, since it is something Totally normal.

And how have you done to overcome Nicotrophobia? Share your experiences to help readers! Thank you!


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