Why do adults have a fear of darkness?

Chuang Tzu, the famous Chinese philosopher of the era of the Battle Kingdoms, urged people to learn to see where everything had sunk into the darkness, and to hear where everything is absolutely quiet, because only in the dark can you see the light and only in silence it is possible to hear the true harmony ... But Chuang Tzu was not the first and far from the last person who meditated on the darkness and tried to understand it. fear of darkness in adults

Religion, culture and science about darkness

Darkness, which is called blackness, darkness, crown, constantly attracted the attention of philosophers, poets, scientists, and ordinary people, because in the dark, it seemed, always something is hiding, including evil. For example, in the Western poetic tradition, darkness was often associated with depression and depression, with something unkind and dangerous. And practically all world religions also turn to darkness in their sacred books. If you recall the Bible, darkness is mentioned in it as one of the plagues of Egypt (Exodus 10:21), and also as the place of "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 8:12). The Koran, the sacred book of Muslims, says that "burning despair and icy darkness" await those who dare to step over the boundaries of righteousness (Nab. 78.25). It turns out that darkness, if you follow any of the world's religions, is the finale that awaits the unrepentant sinners, that is, a kind of synonym for hell and absolute evil. Thus, the emotional perception of darkness and the emotional reaction to darkness becomes a huge metaphorical value in virtually all world cultures. However, science refers to the concept of "darkness" much more prosaic and explains it as the opposite of brightness and as the relative absence of visible light. With a more detailed explanation of what darkness is, from the point of view of perception by the eye (eye) organ, it turns out that the rods and cones, which are known as light detectors of the human eye and are inside the eye, responsible for visual perception, are not stimulated in the absence of light, so the brain does not receive any information from the photoreceptors and the surrounding reality is perceived first as achromatic (colorless), when there is very little light, and then black (when there is no light at all) ... Is this interesting and important The most information for many people is closed from the general public? By no means, this information is set forth in school textbooks of physics and human anatomy, about this, scientific-popular films have been shot, articles and books have been written, and accessible to a wide range of readers. But why does darkness still cause fear among many people, even among adults and fully educated people?

A few general words about the fear of darkness

Fear, or fear, of darkness has a scientific name, which is used in medicine as well - no-one's phobia. The term "no-phobia" comes from the Greek word night, which means fear, and has several synonyms of English origin: ahluofobia or ecluophobia. fear of darkness in an adult There is an opinion that the fear of darkness is most often observed in children, but disappears with age. However, this does not always correspond to reality, and the fear of darkness can not only be preserved for many years, but also grow into a phobia, that is, turn into a strong, pronounced and obsessive sense of fear of darkness, a pathological (that is, painful, unhealthy) reaction to darkness, which can not be explained logically. From the results of observations, it can be concluded that fear of darkness can be preserved in adults, but adults can still resist this feeling, leaving at least a minimum of light in the room (for example, bulbs on chargers, a working computer monitor); trying to find an opportunity not to go out into the dark at night, especially alone; not using unlit underground passages and resorting to other simple, but quite effective tricks. But still sometimes, no one can be turned into a real mental disorder that requires serious medical intervention, and even treatment in a psychiatric hospital.
Interesting! Doctors-psychiatrists, as well as practicing psychologists and psychoanalysts to date do not have a common opinion about the causes of the formation of no-one-phobia in adults.
One of the theories of the emergence of no-phobia is that it is a matter of genetic memory, because in times of great antiquity darkness represented a serious danger for primitive man - fear of darkness and distrust of it remained for hundreds of thousands of years, although times have changed many times and life has become much safer . According to another theory, the no-phobia of an adult begins in childhood from a childish fear of darkness, which was not noticed in time and corrected by adults. The third theory says that any fear of darkness is explained by the inability to navigate in the dark, therefore, according to the followers of this theory, in this phobia, fear of some kind of danger, but the unknown and the possibility of a dangerous situation, comes first. Another theory is that no-phobia, that is, fear of the dark, is akin to the fear of death and the fear of loneliness. However, most likely, those experts who are right are saying that the causes of nobody's phobia and its roots are very individual for each person and can very well be really unique and unique, unlike anybody else's. But no matter how different the causes of this state of fear or even phobia were, its symptoms are far from unique and similar to the symptoms of any other phobias, because the darkness causes extremely strong psychophysical stress in a person who is subject to this phobia, having both psychological and physical indices .
Among the signs of psychophysical stress caused by a phobia or severe fear is called an extremely rapid pulse, rapid breathing, numbness of the extremities, increased sweating (with sweat cold), loss of self-control, incoherence of speech and other signs of mental, psychological and physical discomfort, against which it is likely even the appearance of hallucinations, as well as fainting and loss of consciousness.
There is evidence that even a completely healthy and unaffected by any phobia person, who is forced to stay in the dark for a very long time, can seriously suffer, especially mentally. The danger increases many times when the darkness has to be experienced indoors, and the negative consequences occur faster the room is smaller.

Proven reasons for the appearance of no-one's phobia, or fear of darkness

To combat any problem, first of all it is necessary to understand its nature. As for the fear of darkness or even the phobia that has arisen on this soil (nobody's phobia), the reasons of this state have been of interest to scientists for more than one century. As a result of long-term observations, studies and careful analysis of the data obtained, it was possible to isolate some of the causes of this type of fear, but the list can hardly be considered complete and exhaustive. Reason number 1 - Genetic tendency. The first cause of fear of darkness, scientists call genetic predisposition and argue that any fear, including this, can be passed from generation to generation on a genetic level. Since primitive people, that is, our distant ancestors, could not protect themselves from any danger that lurked in the dark, and especially dangerous was a small enclosed space from which it was very difficult to escape and escape, the desire to avoid darkness, and especially darkness in a small enclosed space , became vital and passed down from generation to generation, until it was fixed on the genetic level. Also at the genetic level, the fear of unknown and dangerous objects is transmitted, which can suddenly appear in a dark room, in a dark street or in any darkness in general. Genetic memory has kept the darkness as a source of increased danger, so the instinct of self-preservation in every possible way tries to help a person avoid this dangerous situation. However, since a very considerable time has passed since, some people (fortunately, they are becoming more and more) the genetically determined desire to avoid darkness is weakening and begins to disappear, or even completely reduces to zero. Reason number 2 - Limited capacity of the human body. As you know, a lot of information about the environment people receive through the eyes, that is, with the help of vision. It is the vision that tells the person most of what can save him from danger. It's not a secret that sense of smell, touch and other feelings are much worse in humans than in animals, that's why a person initially loses to any representative of the animal world in this. And only vision enables a person to avoid danger or even just an undesirable situation. But if it's dark around, vision can not help, because a person in darkness hardly sees, unlike many animals, for example, from cats. Other animals, for example, bats, use ultrasound, which is also deprived of man. And it is the limited possibilities of the human body that made the primitive man afraid of the dark, leaving this fear to many next generations. Reason number 3 - Uncertainty. In the darkness, a person is not able to see the danger and is not able to appreciate it, and in the dark it is impossible to understand how to act to avoid this danger. Thus, it turns out that the desire to avoid darkness is the desire to avoid suspense.
Interesting! Joanne Rowling in her novel "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" wrote that when faced with darkness and with death, people fear only the unknown, and nothing more.
Reason 4 - Child's past or past at all. Psychologists and psychiatrists claim that the child is born without fears, which appear only with the acquisition of life experience. It is experience that gives birth to a child and fear of darkness: for example, a child was punished, leaving one in a dark room, or something scared him in the dark, or he listened in the garden or in the courtyard of stories about the "terrible black hand," or something else , which made a strong impression on the little man. It is from such negative childhood impressions, sensations and experiences that complexes and fears are formed, including fear of the dark. If adults left their child's fear without due attention and did not get rid of the child, fear could well remain and turn into a no-one's phobia in an adult. Reason number 5 - Feeling of loneliness and insecurity. This reason, in fact, has the same roots as the previous one: a person could have formed from childhood a feeling of insecurity and loneliness in the dark, and in the absence of the necessary timely correction, such a feeling could remain for many years. However, the same feelings may well appear in adults as a result of some strong emotional upheavals. Reason number 6 - The game of imagination. It is known that the imagination develops to about three years of the child's life, and it is after three years that the imagination starts playing malicious jokes with the baby, turning things into something dark and hostile in the dark. It's no secret that imagination can create imaginary dangers for an adult, especially when he has a rich imagination, and also when the psyche is influenced by certain medicines, drugs or alcohol. Reason number 7 - Stress (acute or chronic). As it turned out during the research, acute or chronic stress can affect the instinct of self-preservation and change its direction, that is, a person under the influence of stress can incorrectly assess any situation and see the danger or threat in completely ordinary situations or in ordinary things or phenomena. It is stressful situations that have a serious impact on the psychological and emotional perception of a person around the world. As a result of stress, both acute and chronic, people with low stress tolerance can experience various anxiety conditions, including phobias, including no-one's phobia. Reason number 8 - Lack of vitamins. There is an opinion that the fear of darkness, as well as many other fears, can arise and persist in an unstable emotional state, which, in turn, can be explained by the lack of certain vitamins in the body, as well as micro- and macro-elements. There is no doubt that for the full-fledged activity of the nervous system, which has a decisive influence on the emotional background, it is vitally important that all the necessary chemical elements enter the body in a timely manner, therefore, a full and proper diet is of special importance for preserving the mental and emotional health of a person. Reason number 9 - Fear of death. No-phobia (fear of darkness) can be associated with the fear of death, because in many cultural and religious traditions death is associated with darkness: death is represented as eternal darkness and eternal cold. It is interesting that people who survived a clinical death really told about their movement along the dark corridor towards the light. In many cultural and religious traditions (but not in all), death is associated with black and dark, and even things for burial rites tend to be black. It is interesting that in the Christian religion monasticism, which symbolizes the death of a person for secular life, including for marriage, and hence for the continuation of the family, is also associated with black color, that is, with darkness. In addition, many magical rituals are associated with death and with darkness, which should be conducted only and exclusively in the dark. Since any person receives such information from the very childhood, it can form a misperception and even a phobia, especially if the information reaches a person in a distorted form, which becomes especially possible when the child is allowed to watch programs that are not intended for children and films that are full of deaths and cruelty. Often, children as a result of such "cultural" and "educational" views are formed a panic fear of darkness and death, the fight with which can be very difficult, and sometimes almost impossible. The mentality of people who survived military operations, occupation, captivity, torture, concentration camps and other horrors of the war is also very hard. Thus, the fear of darkness is often perceived as a fear of death, including the instinct of self-preservation, resulting in a person experiencing an overwhelming need to avoid that which can endanger life, in this case of darkness.

How to get rid of the fear of darkness?

Fear of darkness, like any other fears, can greatly reduce the quality of life and practically poison the existence, because any person who is afraid of anything is not able to make the right decisions, achieve success and be a real master of his life. Doctors-psychiatrists and practicing psychologists and psychoanalysts unanimously declare that with fears and, especially, with phobias it is necessary to struggle, as the phobia becomes the reason of worsening not only emotional, psychological and mental state, but also physical condition when vital indicators deteriorate , including blood pressure, and pulse. Undoubtedly, the right decision is to turn to a specialist who can provide the necessary qualified assistance, but many people prefer to try to deal with the problem of fear on their own. Is it possible? Many experts are of the opinion that, given a certain level of self-organization and self-discipline, a person can at least try to cope with the problem on his own, and call several ways to combat fear. Method number 1 - Decisive action. In world practice, this method is called "Just do it", which means "Just do it." What kind of a way to fight fear? Psychologists advise to develop a habit of doing everything necessary and acting without paying attention to fear. It is necessary to understand that any fear is simply a reaction of the body to an attempt to do something contrary to habitual patterns of behavior and contrary to beliefs. When a person must act contrary to established convictions and habits, he experiences discomfort, which may well have a form of fear. Therefore, an adult should honestly confess to himself that he is afraid, but to say to himself and his fear that everything necessary will be done right now. The more a person delays performing the necessary actions, the more fears grow and increase. Is it scary to go out into the dark? Well, well, we need to take a flashlight and take a step towards the danger, which will turn out to be imaginary. By the way, if you start a dog, then an evening walk will almost always be at a dark time, but you can not cancel a walk with a dog, and a dog (especially a large one) is a very reliable company to walk even in the dark. Method number 2 - Evaluation of the options for the development of events. Psychologists advise not to exhaust yourself with fears in vain, but to imagine the variants of the development of events, because most of all any person is afraid of the unknown. If, however, the veil of suspense is already pushed aside even by assumption, then fear decreases. For example, taking a step into the darkness, a person can stage out all his actions step by step: first turn on the flashlight, and then open the door to the dark street. Or, before leaving the house, look out the window and make sure that there is no darkness in the street: the windows of the houses are lit, the lights are on, cars are driving and the street lights are illuminated by their headlights, and it is almost unbelievable that at one time electricity is completely cut off everywhere and the whole transport stopped traveling. If a person fears not darkness but a specific danger, for example, he was threatened, then it is much more logical to apply to human rights bodies so that they neutralize the attacker.
Attention! Psychologists recommend trying to carefully evaluate how justified fear, because in this way the protective mechanisms of a person can work. If, as a result of the analysis, the fear turns out to be unreasonable, then it is necessary to simply carry out the necessary actions, and if the fear has some grounds, it is necessary to assess the real danger and ways of overcoming it.
Method number 3 - Determination. In order to overcome any fear, you need to make a firm decision - it is determination that helps to overcome any fears, because fear appears only when there is uncertainty in yourself and in your abilities and capabilities. Why does fear prevail over man? Because a person doubts and is unsure of himself, and against this background, unpleasant thoughts and pictures arise in his brain, which create discomfort. If a person makes a decision about the need to do something, the fear goes away and the time comes to focus on the implementation of the decision. It is not for nothing that they used to say in olden days that their eyes are afraid, but their hands are doing it.
Attention! The results of many studies convincingly prove that any positive emotions help to fight fear and successfully overcome it.
Method number 4 - Analysis of fear. Psychologists say that in the fight against any fears, including with fear of darkness, it is very important to carefully analyze what exactly causes fear, why this fear arises, how real the danger is, how important it is that is impossible to do because of fear, and what will happen if the matter is not done. However, even the most frank answers to any questions do not always solve the problem of fear, because fear is a very strong emotion, and it is known that emotions almost always prevail over logic. Therefore, psychologists advise as much as possible to imagine how and how fear will be overcome. If fear is overcome mentally, then it is much easier to overcome in reality.
Attention! Courage and courage - this is not a denial of fear and not its absence, but the ability to act in spite of fear.
Method number 5 - Training courage. Scientists say that courage can and should be trained, that is, it is necessary to learn to overcome fear. For this, psychologists advise first to determine exactly what causes these negative emotions, what exactly is frightening, for example, in our case, in the dark. And then, when it is absolutely clear what causes fear, it is necessary to gradually take steps to overcome it. Is there any danger in the dark? Which exactly? And if you do not turn on the lighting at dusk? And so gradually you can make attempts to combat any fear, including fear of darkness.
Attention! Psychologists confidently assert that excellent ways to combat any fear, including with fear of darkness, are a normal level of self-esteem, faith in God or in the guardian angel, love or even love, care for children.


Why is man afraid of the dark? What does he feel, what he is trying to avoid? Maybe it's just a fear of uncertainty or unwillingness to make any decisions? Maybe it's the fear of death that destroys life itself? We know from the very childhood that any person is mortal, that any earthly way ends, but it is important that people leave after themselves: planted trees, built houses, made discoveries, talented students, children and grandchildren. What is hiding in the dark? Evil? Or maybe just a mystery? Or is it that Ole Lukoye opened a black umbrella so that the night would pass without dreams? The ancient Eastern sages said that the worst evil is always happening not in the darkness, and the light of day, and the most complete darkness is evil in the soul. And they advised instead of all the time afraid of the dark, to light at least the tiniest candle ...