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Question
Posted by: MadcatJ | 2008/07/16

Scared of the dark

Dear Cybershrink

My 19 year old daughter has always been scared of the dark, and has not moved out of the house because of this. She recently moved into a downstairs room, and since then has sleepless nights or has to take a pill to sleep. I had a similar fear when I was young, but not to this extreme! How long before she grows out of this, and what can I do to help her?

MadcatJ

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

If she hasn't grown out of this fear by 19, she may never do so on her own./ But proper treatment by a psychologist using Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy should be able to solve the problem, maybe even within weeks

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Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2008/07/16

I was scared of the dark until my early thirties. Used to leave a light on in my house (I lived alone) at all times so that I never had to walk into a dark house.

Eventually I started forcing myself to walk in the dark under circumstances where I knew I was safe. You just have to face the fear. And about the same time I started treatment for depression. Although fear of the dark was never specifically dealt with in therapy, I believe this also helped.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: mrsb | 2008/07/16

I am 34 years old and am still afraid of the dark. No advise as to when one will outgrow this fear. I must say however that one gets addicted to sleeping pills and eventually you cannot sleep at all without them. I know this happened to me and I had to train my body how to sleep naturally again. Let her sleep with a bedside lamp with a low voltage globe on and get her off of the pills.

Reply to mrsb

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