What is the phobia of spiders? For those of you who aren’t familiar, arachnophobia is a severe, often irrational phobia of spiders. Even though spiders terrify many people, most of us are able to live our lives unaffected by their presence. In contrast, arachnophobia is an extreme fear of spiders. Seeing or thinking about a spider can set off an overwhelming emotional response in some people, making them believe they are in immediate danger.
Arachnophobia is defined, its causes and symptoms are listed, diagnostic procedures are discussed, and treatment options for arachnophobia are examined.
Arachnophobia, more commonly known as “spider phobia,” can be extremely upsetting and have a negative impact on your overall well-being. Anxiety can strike in an instant if one has even the slightest premonition of coming into contact with a poisonous spider. Arachnophobia can cause the following physical symptoms:
- Heart rate rises
- Involuntary shaking and twitching
- Breathing that is quick and shallow.
- Vomiting and a rumbling stomach
- Feeling light-headed or dizzy
Avoiding social situations, having trouble concentrating, and avoiding places you’re afraid of because you’re afraid of spiders are all symptoms of arachnophobia. There are many people with arachnophobia who believe that spiders are much larger than they actually are.
Arachnophobia’s root causes
Anxiety disorders, including specific phobias like spider phobia, may or may not run in families.
Having a fear of spiders can also be a result of the environment in which you live. If you grew up around someone who was terrified of spiders, you’re more likely to develop the same phobia yourself. The fear of another spider bite is understandable, especially if you’ve had one in the past and had a bad experience with it. It is most common for spider phobia to begin in childhood, but it can also persist into adulthood or even develop later in life.
Arachnophobia can be diagnosed in a few different ways.
Many people are afraid of spiders, but they aren’t arachnophobic. Keep this in mind. Why is it that psychologists and psychiatrists look for certain symptoms when diagnosing fear of spiders? The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is commonly used to diagnose specific phobias (DSM-5).
In order to determine if you have arachnophobia, a mental health professional will use the DSM-5 criteria.
Your symptoms must have persisted for at least six months before they can be considered severe enough to warrant an arachnophobia diagnosis. Questions about your symptoms will typically revolve around their intensity and frequency. In addition, your medical history may be examined.
Approximately 19 percent of the world’s population suffers from specific phobias. Fear of animals (including spiders) and fear of heights are the two most common phobias, according to a recent study. Arachnophobia, on the other hand, is one of the most frequently diagnosed phobias by psychologists.
spiders versus spider web arachnophobia
The fear of spider webs is a subset of the more general aversion to all things spherical. Spiders, spider webs, or both spiders and their webs are all examples of specific phobias.
Arachnophobia phobia treatment
Arachnophobia, for example, can be treated more effectively than complex phobias because it is more specific. It’s also possible that as you grow older, your fear of spiders will become less intense.
Therapy or counselling is usually necessary to treat specific phobias successfully. To help you overcome your fear of spiders, your therapist will likely teach you how to take a more realistic view of their threat level.
Therapy (even if it is short-term combined with medication) is the most effective long-term treatment, even if medication is helpful in some cases. The following medications may be prescribed for the short-term relief of arachnophobia symptoms:
- Anti-anxiety supplements made from natural ingredients
While CBT is the most commonly used treatment for phobias, arachnophobia is one of the more unusual ones that can benefit from it.
Another effective treatment for spider phobia is the use of indirect exposure therapy. In order to better understand arachnids, you could watch arachnid documentaries. When you see or think about spiders in the future, this may help alleviate some of the anxiety you feel.
Watching movies about unrealistically large killer spiders could also be an option. Real spiders aren’t nearly as dangerous as people think. Arachnophobia sufferers may benefit from watching Spiderman movies, according to some studies. Exposure therapy is based on the idea of gradually becoming more familiar with your fears in a safe and controlled setting. It’s possible to gradually increase the level of exposure until you’re able to manage your fear and not let it interfere with your life as your tolerance and fear levels rise.
Arachnophobia: How to Overcome Your Fear
Some people with arachnophobia or other specific or complex phobias may benefit from making certain lifestyle changes.
All of the following may help alleviate your fear of spiders, including therapy and possibly medication:
- Friends and family members who you can confide in about your fears
- Experimenting with meditative and calming techniques
- Making the switch to a better diet
- Increasing physical activity
- Improve the quality of your slumber
Your body and brain will benefit from using these techniques, which may reduce the severity of your symptoms. Coffee, black tea, and energy drinks can also cause a person to become more agitated. Your anxiety and fear may be alleviated if you limit your intake.
Anxiety and fear can be alleviated by deep, deliberate breathing exercises (pranayama). It only takes eight to ten deep belly breaths to shift your brain waves from sympathetic to parasympathetic, making you feel calmer and more in control of your body.
CBT or exposure therapy can be used with a licenced therapist who specialises in anxiety if you feel comfortable enough to do so. Exposure to spiders over time and mental conditioning to accept them can be helpful. You could even go to a pet store and look at a tarantula through a glass case if you weren’t in a therapy setting. While you’re at it, try to focus on your breathing. Repetition can help you overcome your irrational fear by rewiring your brain.
Serious arachnophobia is a real condition that can cause a person to feel terrified, anxious, and frightened to their core. Arachnophobia, like many other phobias, can be triggered by a negative experience in the past. To your advantage, there are numerous techniques you can learn that will help calm your nerves and prepare you to deal with whatever comes your way. There is no better way to recover than working with a therapist.
If you expect therapy to be a quick fix, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. To overcome irrational fears, it may take years of dedicated counselling and effort. It’s important to remember that “curing” arachnophobia won’t happen over-night.
It’s never too early to seek help for an irrational fear such as arachnophobia or any other. There are online therapy options available through Talkspace to assist you in overcoming your anxiety or fear. To return to a normal life, you need to begin retraining and healing as soon as you can. You don’t have to be afraid of spiders anymore.