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Last reviewed: 26.06.2018

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Obsessive fear of sunlight and avoidance of sun exposure is heliophobia (derived from the combination of the Greek words "helyos" - the sun, and "phobeo" - I'm afraid). This phobia is a consequence of psychological fear - such patients fear that the sun can physically harm their health and well-being. They feel that the sun's rays press on them and burn them.


Risk factors

As a rule, the causes of heliophobia are other phobias or diseases:

  • fear of the sun, which is part of the fear of various diseases - for example, the development of cataracts or melanoma;
  • the presence of eye pathologies in a person, as a result of which the acute reaction of the eyes (cutting pains) develops into bright light, and in addition also eye damage. These factors can cause a fear of the sun - because of the person's personal negative experience;
  • agoraphobia (this is the fear of vast open spaces), which provokes fear of the sun's rays.

In some cases, this phobia develops as an independent pathology - suddenly, without any apparent other illnesses or fears, a person begins to experience anxiety when in the sun. And this alarm eventually grows to the size of a phobia - the avoidance of any contact with sunlight begins, a person refuses to leave the room during the day. The basis of such a phobia is some frightening incident that happened to a person, and he himself at the same time correlates it with the influence of the sun's rays.

Heliophobia can also be one of the symptoms of a person developing schizophrenia.

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Symptoms of the heliophobia

Heliophobia is observed - unhealthy to appearance, pale skin along with symptoms of hypovitaminosis (deformation of bones and teeth, as well as caries, the appearance of muscle cramps, weight loss, the development of severe sweating, feelings of weakness and stoop, inhibition of growth, and besides frequent fractures) .

Among the most characteristic signs of the disease - refusal to stay in the sun, which is accompanied by such manifestations:

  • permanent residence in an apartment or house;
  • complete change in the mode of the day - wakefulness at night, sleep during the day;
  • appearance of a "hood" symptom in a patient.

In addition to signs of vitamin D deficiency, as well as characteristic external manifestations, heliophobes often have panic attacks. If a person who is afraid of sunlight suddenly enters the sun, he usually has such a symptom complex:

  • increased heart rate, as well as breathing;
  • dizziness;
  • nausea with vomiting;
  • panic attempts to escape and take refuge in a safe place for him;
  • irrational fear for one's life and health.

In such a situation, it is urgently necessary to get a person into the shade (darkened room or place), because otherwise his condition can significantly worsen - there may be a loss of consciousness, the development of arrhythmia or hypertensive crisis.

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Complications and consequences

Fear of sunlight is a rather dangerous social phobia, because it forces a person to isolate themselves from the world and limit in many aspects. There is a sharp narrowing of the circle of acquaintances and communication, many professions become inaccessible, as well as education in school / university, etc., because most of them work in the daytime.

Phobia has a negative impact on the health of the patient, because without the sunlight in the body is impossible synthesis of calciferol.

Heliophobia, which is aggravated by a deficiency of calciferol, provokes the development of persistent depression, persistent headaches, and a chronic sense of fatigue.

What is the difference between Gunther's disease and heliophobia

Unlike heliophobia, which has only a psychological origin, and in which the sun does not cause any physical harm to the patient, Günter's disease is a genetic pathology transmitted autosomally recessively. With this disease, after contact with the sun on the skin of a man, ulcers and scars appear. Together with this, a strong deformation of the tendons also develops (as a result, fingers sometimes twist), ears and nose. These symptoms are manifested due to a recessive mutation in the non-sexual chromosome, which becomes the cause of increased photosensitivity of the skin, as well as disturbances in metabolic processes.

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Who to contact?

Treatment of the heliophobia

Heliofobs, as a rule, prescribe medications that make up a deficiency of calciferol. This helps prevent complications that develop due to hypovitaminosis.

Also, with this phobia, it is necessary to undergo a course of therapy with the psychoanalyst, because it strongly affects the social interaction of the person and is fraught with dangerous consequences for the state of his health.

The problem is eliminated by gradually becoming accustomed to the phenomenon that frightens the patient, and the progressive output to daylight. This happens with the involvement of medicines and psychotherapeutic treatment methods in the process.

Psychotherapeutic methods:

  • hypnosis - the patient is injected into a trance, and then instills in him the idea that a reasonable stay in the sun does not pose a danger to him;
  • cognitive-behavioral method - in this case, the doctor determines the person's painful settings, and then adjusts them using the method of encouragement. As a result, the patient develops a different, positive attitude relative to the sun's rays and their effects on the body;
  • procedure of neurolinguistic programming - this method is based on copying the behavioral model of any healthy person, in the performance of which the patient begins to get used to the correct behavioral reactions;
  • auto-training - self-hypnosis procedures with thoughts that the sun and its rays are safe.

Treatment with medications consists of the appointment of tranquilizers, sedative drugs, as well as β-blockers and antidepressants.

It is also important to conduct independent exercises that help get rid of heliophobia. With the help of faith in one's own strength, as well as with a gradual withdrawal beyond the comfort zone, it is quite possible to get rid of the fear of the sun. If the patient feels the approach of a panic attack, relaxative procedures should be used: shift attention to something else and perform respiratory gymnastics.


Heliophobia has a favorable prognosis with a full recovery, but only with the timely timely treatment. Proper therapy can save a person from phobia, which will allow him to return to the society, and also to preserve both physical and mental health.


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