What lurks between the trees in a dark forest as you walk by?
Nyctohylophobia can be defined as the fear of forests at night or the fear of dark forests. Nyctohylophobia is known to be more common in women than in men, but about 18% of all people are estimated to have it. Nyctohylophobia is related to and is often developed from homophobia (the fear of forests). Usually, nyctohylophobia is triggered from a bad experience while in a dark However, cultural rumors and fairy tales/fiction stories usually play a large part as well. Others fear the unknown since they cannot actively see what lies beyond the trees.
When thinking of being in a dark forest, or when physically in a dark forest, most people with nyctohylophobia suffer from:
- Panic Attacks/Extreme Anxiety
- Increased Heart Rate
- Shortness of Breath
- A strong urge to avoid going near/into forests, especially at night
- Most shy away from outdoor activities like camping, hiking, etc.
Exposure to the outdoors can gradually help you to overcome your fears. Supportive friends, counseling, and therapy have been known to help reduce the effects of the fear of dark forests. Going into the forest with supportive friends to do something fun like camping can help someone to overcome their fear. Medication can be taken, but it should be used as a last resort.