i have a problem, whenever i go to sleep in a totally dark room i wake up to find myself gasping for air and screaming it kinda feels like a hillusination but ive been told by my boyfriend its real. its the worst feeling in the world. like im drowning or something and the only way to stop it is to find a light switch and turn it on. my mum has this problem to, but not as bad as me. ive also my whole life been terrified of the dark and ghosts and demons that i cant see hurting me. no one else i seem to know has this problem, and i cant find anything on the internet about it. whats wrong with me?
The symptoms that you describe (go to sleep in a totally dark room I wake up to find myself gasping for air and screaming, it kind of feels like a hallucination; Iâm drowning or something and the only way to stop it is to find a light switch and turn it on) come close to what is called achluophobia or fear of darkness, though they are not the classical symptoms.
High level of emotional stress, traumatic experience in the past in the dark etc is known to precipitate it. Sleep studies, hypnosis, and cognitive behavioral therapy which helps you to analyze the cause of your anxiety and teaches you to alter your thinking process are the usual methods employed to understand why you have this problem.
You need to discuss this with your doctor and get help from a psychiatrist to overcome anxiety. Until you get the appointment, it will help to sleep with a night lamp on. Hope this helps. Take care!
"Ask a Doctor" questions are answered by certified physicians and other medical professionals.
For more information about experts participating in the "Ask a Doctor" Network, please visit our
medical experts page.
You may also visit our Sleep Disorders , for moderated patient to patient support and information.
The information provided on eHealth Forum is designed to improve, not replace, the relationship between a patient and his/her own physician.
Personal consultation(s) with a qualified medical professional is the proper means for diagnosing any medical condition.