The Pacific Health Center suggested that these people have been staying away from the sunlight because of the growing fears with skin cancer. This is not technically heliophobia, but simply an unfounded and illogical solution. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (if it includes an intense fear of getting skin cancer) can also cause heliophobia. It should especially be noted that any form of heliophobia that is based on fears can result in agoraphobia. Even though most cases of agoraphobia aren't always heliophobia-related, some of them can be.
Other medical conditions such as keratoconus (an eye disorder that results in extreme optic sensitivity to sunlight and bright lights) and porphyria cutanea tarda, which causes the skin to be overly sensitive to sunlight to the point of causing blisters, can result in heliophobia.
Sufferers ever cover themselves when going outdoors or never going outdoors at all when sun is out, depending on the severity of the fear. Since sufferers stay indoors more than non-sufferers, it will make them more prone to becoming Vitamin D deficient. However, this can be corrected by taking Vitamin D supplements or by consuming Vitamin D fortified foods.
The symptoms of heliophobia depends on the person. Mild sufferers, they may feel uncomfortable, shaky, nauseas, or numb. For severe sufferers, they may suffer anxiety or panic attacks. Other symptoms include heightened senses, lack of focus, feeling trapped, irregular heartbeat, air hunger, rapid breathing, parched mouth, sweating, and muscle cramps.
Heliophobia can be treated using talk therapy, exposure therapy, self-help techniques, support group, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and relaxation techniques. For people who are severely heliophobic, anti-anxiety meditation is a recommended mode of treatment.
- Heliophobia was considered a "telltale sign" of stereotypical vampires and other fantasy creatures such as ghosts, orcs, etc.
- There was a short-lived magazine Heliophobe (3 issues, 1994–1996), described as "a not-so-sexual fetish magazine exclusively devoted to pale-skinned women".
- Heliophobe is the title of a 1997 album from a German rock band Scumbucket.
- This phobia is seen in the American sports comedy film The Benchwarmers.