What is Achluophobia?

Achluophobia is the fear of darkness. This can be a very debilitating fear for some people. As the dark can be a very scary place. Some people with this fear may avoid going outside at night. Or may have trouble sleeping in a dark room. In severe cases, people with this fear may avoid going outside in the day as well.

Achluophobia is the fear of darkness. It can cause long lasting fear of darkness or being in the dark as it’s a common phobia for children.


  • The fear of the dark is a common fear or phobia among children and, to a varying degree, of adults. Fear of the dark is usually not fear of the darkness itself, but fear of possible or imagined dangers concealed by the darkness.
  • Some degree of fear of the dark is natural, especially as a phase of child development. Most observers report that fear of the dark seldom appears before the age of 2 years. When fear of the dark reaches a degree that is severe enough to be considered pathological, it is sometimes called achluophobia.
  • It is common for many young children to be afraid of the dark because they think that there are monsters hiding under their beds and in their closets. Other children might even be terrified of the dark. Because of some of the nightmares that many children will have.
  • These sorts of fears come about as a result of things that they do not yet quite understand. And this lack of understanding can be manifested into fear of the unknown, such as being afraid of the dark. Of course, this is usually easily taken care of by installing a nightlight. Or the child will grow out of it as they get older and understand that there is really nothing there to be afraid of.
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What is the name for fear of darkness?

Nyctophobia is an extreme fear of the dark. This phobia is very common among children but can affect people of all ages. People with this specific anxiety disorder may have. Trouble sleeping, have panic attacks and may avoid leaving the house after dark.

How do you know if you have Achluophobia?

Achluophobia causes an intense, irrational and lasting fear of darkness or being in the dark. Even the thought of being in the dark can trigger fear.

What is the difference between Nyctophobia and Achluophobia?

Nyctophobia, fear of darkness, is an often unspoken disease. Nyctophobia has many names including achluophobia, lygophobia and scotophobia. Most people who have these phobias do not talk about them. Either due to embarrassment or that just talking about the dark is upsetting to them.

Achluophobia is a fear of darkness. This word is derived from Greek language. Achluo means to darken and phobia means fear. Achluophobia is closely related to nyctophobia. When a person gets extremely afraid of being in darkness or he gets afraid of night. This type of phobia can usually occur followed by some traumatic experience with darkness or night or it can occur at its own as well. The intensity of this fear is so high that it sometimes causes changes in physical conditions.

For example, sweating, shivering and increased heart beat.

Hypnosis and cognitive therapy can be helpful in treating the patients with such disorders.

What causes Achluophobia?

Achluophobia is the fear of darkness. It is one of the most common phobias. People with achluophobia may feel uncomfortable in any dark setting. And may feel panicky or claustrophobic when in darkness. Some people with this phobia may avoid going outside at night or spending time in dark places. People with achluophobia may also avoid going to sleep at night, as they may feel anxious in the dark. In severe cases, people with achluophobia may avoid going outside during the day or spending time in lighted areas.

What Causes fear of the dark?

Being afraid of the dark often starts in childhood and is viewed as a normal part of development. Studies focused on this phobia have shown that humans often fear the dark for its lack of any visual stimuli. In other words, people may fear night and darkness because they cannot see what’s around them.


What are the triggers for Achluophobia?

Achluophobia is the fear of darkness. It is one of the most common phobias and can be triggered by many different things. Some people may be afraid of the dark because they are afraid of the unknown. They may not know what could be hiding in the darkness and this can cause them to feel scared or anxious. Other people may have had a bad experience in the dark, such as being attacked or assaulted. This can cause them to develop a fear of darkness that lasts for years or even a lifetime.

However, the exact cause of phobias, including achluophobia, is unclear. It’s likely an interplay of genetics and environmental factors. Sometimes, people can link their fear of the dark to a specific negative experience. In this case, the fear involves an area of the brain called the amygdala. This tiny region records reactions to experiences. When something particularly scary occurs in the dark, the amygdala remembers it. Then, it reminds you of the scariness when you encounter darkness or a similar situation.

What Causes fear of the dark?

Being afraid of the dark often starts in childhood and is viewed as a normal part of development. Studies focused on this phobia have shown that humans often fear the dark for its lack of any visual stimuli. In other words, people may fear night and darkness because they cannot see what’s around them.

Many times, however, there is no specific experience a person can identify. Researchers believe personality traits and temperament may play a role. These traits may be inherited. People may also learn to fear the dark from others in their family. So, it can be hard to tell whether phobias are indeed inherited or learned behavior.

Home » Mental health » phobias » Achluophobia (A Complete Guide)

Phobia is a word derived from Greek language which means fear. This may be an exaggerated aversion with something.

Factors that develop Phobia

There various factors which can contribute to develop phobia. Environmental and genetic factors are likely to pave way in the development of a phobia.

  1. Anyone can expose themselves to any kind of phobia. By thinking irrationally about a particular thing.
  2. A person with some kind of phobia will try to avoid things. Which he considers to be hazardous.
  3. Phobias are mental disorders which can be cured or overcome,


Symptoms of Achluophobia are very much in similarity with what an individual might come across in other types of phobias.

  1. Individuals suffering from Achluophobia are afraid of darkness. Which may create mental distress form them while being in darkness.
  2. These symptoms might effect the productivity of a person related to his job and career.
  3. This can possibly also have negative consequences for mental health.
  4. There have been many similarities in different phobias. These symptoms can be either physical or emotional.
  5. A person suffering from achluophobia might develop symptoms when thinking about darkness or finding himself into darkness.
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Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms related to achluophobia are as followsa:

  1. Problems in breathing
  2. Fast heart beats
  3. Pain in chest
  4. Shivering , trembling, or tingling sensations
  5. Sweating
  6. Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  7. Upset stomach
  8. Hot or cold flashes
  9. Emotional Symptoms
  10. Uncontrolled anxiety or panic attacks
  11. Urges to get out of this situation
  12. Feeling unreal
  13. Detachment from self
  14. Feeling overwhelmed
  15. Feeling crazy
  16. Feeling dead or feelings of losing consciousness
  17. Feeling powerless over your fear

Risk Factors

  1. At an age of three to six years a child is more vulnerable to develop fear of darkness or fear of night.
  2. In this age, it is thought to be normal for a child. It is also common among children of this age group to develop certain fears of, ghosts, monsters, sleeping alone and strange noises.
  3. Nightlight is considered helpful for children to fall asleep easily and overcome their fear.
  4. When severe fear causes problems for them in sleeping it may cause anxiety and if this grows with them it may turn out to be achluophobia.

Other risk factors are as follows:

  1. Parental Anxiety

Some children grow watching their parents fighting, parting their ways and dealing with a lot of problems in their lives.

This makes children fearful and causes developing achluophobia.

  • Overprotective Parents

Too much dependency on parents also causes problems for children while they are growing.

If this dependency continues with their growth it might cause generalized anxiety in them.

  • Stressful Events

If someone goes through a traumatic event, for example involving in an accident or getting injured may also cause a person to be phobic.

  • Genetics

Due to genetics some people are more likely to develop fear.


  • The vast majority of cases of achluophobia are self-diagnosed. The person realizes that their fear of darkness is irrational and has severely compromised their daily functioning. The achluophobic person may then schedule an appointment with their doctor to discuss their phobia.
  • Typically, the doctor will never make a diagnosis of achluophobia based on that first appointment. More routinely, the doctor, after ruling out any physical reason for the phobia, will refer the individual to a mental health professional for further assessment and evaluation.

Is there a phobia of being alone at night?

Autophobia, or monophobia, is the fear of being alone or lonely. Being alone, even in a usually comforting place like home, can result in severe anxiety for people with this condition. People with autophobia feel they need another person or other people around in order to feel safe.

Cost Of Living With Phobia Of Darkness

If you are living with phobia of darkness, what is the real cost to your health, your career or school, and to your family life?. Avoiding the issue indefinitely would mean resigning yourself to living in fear, missing out on priceless life experiences, big and small, living a life that is just a shadow of what it will be when the problem is gone.

Are humans naturally afraid of the dark?

Through evolution, humans have therefore developed a tendency to be scared of darkness. “In the dark, our visual sense vanishes, and we are unable to detect who or what is around us. We rely on our visual system to help protect us from harm,” Antony said. “Being scared of the dark is a prepared fear.”

How do you know if you have Achluophobia?

Achluophobia is a fear of the dark. While some people may enjoy the darkness or find it comforting. For those who suffer from achluophobia, the dark can be terrifying. This fear can keep people from participating in activities they enjoy or restrict them from going places they want to visit.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is possible that you have achluophobia:

  1. You avoid going outside at night
  2. Feel anxious when you are in a dark room or place
  3. Nightmares about being in the dark
  4. Feel like you can’t breathe or your heart is racing when you are in the dark.
  5. You feel like there is something lurking in the shadows.
  6. You feel like you are being watched by a dark figure
  7. You feel like there is something coming at you when you are in the dark
  8. Afraid of the dark, but can’t say why
  9. Afraid of the dark and have no idea why

Furthermore, the symptoms of Achluophobia are the same as many other phobias. They can include fear, anxiety, stress and panic attacks. Some people may feel nervous or scared to go in the dark because they have a fear of the unknown.


How can Achluophobia be treated?

Achluophobia is a fear of the dark. It can be treated with therapy and exposure to the dark. Some people may also need medication to treat the condition. Your doctor or therapist can help you decide if medication is right for you. Exposure to the dark in a controlled setting may be very useful. Light therapy is also useful, especially for people with seasonal phobias.

How To Handle It

  • You will teach yourself to regain control of your emotions and conquer your phobia of darkness. You will have to rapidly train your unconscious mind to connect different. Positive feelings to the stimuli that triggers the phobia and you will learn quickly to stop. The root cause of your fear those awful thoughts, images , movies or sounds.
  • Don’t use hypnosis for phobia of darkness or the modren techniques are equally relaxing and enjoyable. Once the unconscious mind feels safe and learns how to respond appropriately. It will always know so the result are permanent. Phobia of darkness is gone, forever.


There is no cure for Achluophobia, but it can be treated. Your doctor or therapist will have you try several different techniques to see which one works best for you. 

What are the treatments for achluophobia?

Fear of the dark tends to affect children the most. Like other childhood fears, most people eventually outgrow them. It’s important not to see fear of the dark as weakness or tease a child about it. These attitudes often make the problem worse and cause more shame and guilt. While it’s easy to see fear of the dark as silly, it is quite real and overwhelming to the person experiencing the phobia. Getting help early in the course of the phobia often offers the best resolution of the fear.

Doctors recommend treatment when fear of the dark affects your ability to live and function normally. The most effective achluophobia treatments are forms of psychotherapy including:

Cognitive behavior therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy helps you or your child learn to identify and change unhealthy thoughts and emotions to change behavior. A therapist will guide you through the process of confronting your fear and changing your beliefs about your fear. The goal is to gain confidence in yourself instead of letting fear of the dark overwhelm you. Therapists often use this technique in combination with exposure therapy.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy involves gradually and repeatedly facing your fear of the dark. Another name for this approach is desensitization therapy. A therapist will help you through controlled situations involving darkness. It may start with just thinking about being in the dark. You will practice anxiety-reducing strategies until you master your fear. Then, your therapist will gradually expose you to more intense situations. The goal is to reach a place where fear of the dark doesn’t control you or limit your ability to function.


In some cases, doctors also use medications for a short period of time to help reduce symptoms. However, long-lasting relief relies on effective psychotherapy. Medications are often more useful for temporary situations, such as fear of flying.


When fear of the dark is severe, it can be devastating. Complications include:

  1. Mood disorders. People with phobias have a higher risk of anxiety and depression.
  2. Social isolation. Children who fear the dark may withdraw from peers due to shame about the fear. This can lead to loneliness and even academic problems.
  3. Substance abuse. People may try to manage their fear with alcohol or drugs, which can lead to abuse and addiction.

How common is Achluophobia?

Achluophobia is one of the most common phobias in the world. It is a fear of darkness. People who have this phobia usually experience anxiety and panic attacks when they are in dark places or when it is nighttime. Achluophobia can interfere with a person’s life significantly, making it difficult to do things such as go outside at night or sleep in a dark room. However, it is possible to learn how to live with this fear. 


What is the outlook for someone with Achluophobia?

Achluophobia is the fear of darkness. It can be debilitating for some people, making everyday activities difficult. For those with achluophobia, simply stepping into a dark room can cause intense fear and anxiety. The outlook for someone with achluophobia may vary depending on the severity of the condition.

In some cases, a person may only experience mild discomfort in dark environments. In more severe cases, a person may be unable to leave their home or participate in many activities due to their fear of the dark. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the outlook for a person with achluophobia will depend on the individual’s specific situation.

Does achluophobia run in families?

Yes, it is possible to inherit achluophobia. A study conducted by the University of Washington School of Medicine found that there is a genetic component to achluophobia.

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Is there hope for those with Achluophobia?

For those with Achluophobia, or the fear of the dark, there often seems to be little hope. The darkness can be a source of great anxiety and discomfort, trapping individuals in a world of fear and isolation. However, recent studies have shown that there may be ways to overcome this fear. Through therapy and exposure to gradually increasing levels of light, many people have been able to reclaim their lives from Achluophobia.

While it is not always easy, there is hope for those who suffer from this debilitating fear. On the other hand, many people with Achluophobia have found relief through treatment. The techniques and strategies used to help overcome this fear are varied, but one of the most effective is imagery therapy (Gendlin, 2006).


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