Have you ever been relaxing on your sofa, perhaps enjoying a nice beverage when suddenly a spider quickly crawls over you? Of course, you may jump up from your seat, disgusted at the idea that a spider touched you, yet you go about the rest of your day like you would any day. However, there are people that wouldn’t be fine at the mere sight of a spider that is across the room. They may panic, become anxious or faint. It is estimated that nearly 50 percent of women and 18 percent of men have these feelings when it comes to spiders, as it is called arachnophobia.
Arachnophobia is defined as an abnormal and persistent fear of spiders. There are feelings and symptoms that may differ between those who have an arachnophobia, but many experience anxiety and panic at the thought or sight of a spider, even though they realize the risk of being harmed by a spider is small or nonexistent. They may also avoid going barefoot and become alert when taking showers. Some people will not enter a room or their bed without first checking for spiders. The phobia may also dictate where someone chooses to live, go on vacation or what hobbies to enjoy due to the extreme fear.
Symptoms of Arachnophobia
- - Excessive sweating
- - Clamminess
- - Rapid breathing
- - Nausea
- - Dizziness
- - Rapid heartbeat
Causes of Arachnophobia
There isn’t one definitive cause for arachnophobia, but there are a few theories. Some believe that the fear may have a cultural background. For example, those living in Africa have a great fear of large spiders, while those in South America actually eat large spiders and most are not afraid. Thus, it might be the culture that we live in that allows the fear of spiders. Another theory is that the fear is caused by an incident that occurred earlier in life that was frightening. Many people do not remember the events that lead to their phobia, and the mind can create a phobia based on instants of panic.
Treatment of Arachnophobia
Systematic desensitization is the most common way that arachnophobia is treated. It is a therapeutic intervention that reduces the link between anxiety and the objects or situations that produce the anxiety. The goal is to reduce or eliminate the phobia and to help the patient cope with the fear. They will undergo relaxation techniques that will help alleviate the tension that is in the patient’s daily life.
If you or someone you know suffers from arachnophobia, seek help so that you may live a more relaxed and stress free life. You can overcome arachnophobia and the biggest step is getting help with learning to cope and eliminate your fears.
- Medicine Net – Gives the definition of arachnophobia
- Arachnophobia – Provides information on arachnophobia
- Arachnophobia – Gives information on the causes of arachnophobia
- Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders – Provides information on systematic desensitization