(Fear of the dark) is a phobia characterized by a severe fear of the dark. It is triggered by the brain’s disfigured perception of what would, or could, happen when in a dark environment.
Despite its pervasive nature, there has been a lack of etilogical research on the subject. Nyctophobia is generally observed in children but, according to J. Adrian Williams’ article titled, “Indirect Hypnotic Therapy of Nyctophobia: A Case Report”, many clinics with pediatric patients have a great chance of having adults who have nyctophobia. (Wikipedia)
The fear of darkness or night has several non-clinical terminologies:
What are the Symptoms?
- Shortness of breath
- Panic attack
- Chest pain
- Accelerated heart rate
A popular and effective treatment for fear of darkness is cognitive-behavior therapy, also known as exposure therapy. With therapy and medications to treat panic attacks and migraines, many people can overcome nyctophobia.
Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing and muscle relaxation can help with the severe symptoms associated with a fear of the dark. Learning all self help methods and becoming informed about the disorder are necessary steps in beating the fear.
It’s common for children to go through a stage in which they fear darkness. I know I certainly did! I saw “something” in my room one night at the age of eight. I was wide awake, in the dark and sitting upright in my bed. It started out as a slow movement at the foot of my bed. That’s what initially caught my attention. This movement evolved into a head with a hideous face and grin bobbing up and down on the top of a horse’s neck/mane area. That’s all I could see and, once this “thing” was almost at the side of my bed and parallel to me, I screamed and screamed and ran downstairs into my parent’s bedroom. I did not sleep in my room again for a solid week. My parents believed me. What did I see? I have no idea but, at the time, it was real to me. Did I imagine it? Maybe. Every now and then, I think back to that night and wonder if I’d actually been visited by something evil. It certainly was not warm and fuzzy. It was hideous and frightening. I wish I was an artist but, unfortunately, the artistic side of my family does not include me. I should note that the small town I grew up in in Connecticut has a Native American history (Naugatuck) and my neighbors and several family friends had paranormal experiences growing up. The town also boasts of one very old and very haunted cemetery. (See my other blog on What’s In The Nutmeg State:)
It’s not just the dark that scares children. It’s that creature that lurks under the bed or in the closet! What’s that scratching noise? That creak? Did I just see a shadow?
Early man had a legitimate fear of the darkness since we were not exactly at the top of the food chain thousands of years ago….predators were. It was smart to fear the danger that did, in fact, lurk out there in the darkness.
The Bogeyman is a common allusion to a mythical creature in many cultures used by adults to frighten “bad” children into compliant behavior. The Bogeyman has no specific appearance, and the descriptions about it can vary drastically from household to household. This frightening monster has no set appearance in the mind of an adult or child, but is definitely a non-specific embodiment of terror. Parents may tell their children that if they misbehave, the bogeyman will get them. My parents never used this technique with my brothers and me and I never used such a mean approach with my two sons when they were small. How awful!
The tales about the Bogeyman vary by region and the entity is usually male or simply androgynous. This listing is a small example of the varieties of the Bogeyman in different locations around the world. There are many, many more to be found.
- El Salvador
- Puerto Rico
- Dominican Republic
- Norway (Busemann)
Bonhomme Sept-Heures (7 o’clock man)
- Boogie man
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