13 Astonishing Arachnophobia Facts About A Fear Of Spiders

Abhijeet Modi
Oct 06, 2023 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Mar 23, 2022
Extreme fear of spiders can cause a panic attack in some people. Read more arachnophobia facts.

Most spider bites are harmless as most spiders are not poisonous.

Around 18% of men have a fear of spiders. More than 55% of women have a fear of spiders.

Arachnophobia is not only the fear of spiders but also the fear of different arachnids. Joint leg insects are called arachnids. Mites, ticks, and scorpions also come under arachnids.

People experiencing arachnophobia feel uneasy even in the presence of webs. They shout in fear and cry when they see spiders. In some cases, the fear is triggered just by seeing images and toys of spiders.

It is the least common in European countries. In the early days, when humans coexisted with animals, spiders were the least of their worries as compared to animals of bigger size and strength. With the reduction of wildlife in the urban areas, seeing crawling insects can trigger a form of fear among humans.

Exposure therapy, which is a form of desensitization therapy, is often used on patients affected by this phobia. This phobia is also called the phobia of spiders. It causes clinical distress to patients affected.

In some cases, even thinking about arachnids will cause arachnophobia. It causes anxiety-like symptoms in them. Not everyone who has arachnophobia feels extreme symptoms.

What is Arachnophobia?

Arachnophobia comes from the Greek word Arachne which means 'spider,' and Phobos, which means 'fear.' Most spiders are poisonous and sting people; that's why there has become an inherent fear of spiders.

It is very physically and mentally exhausting for people who cannot function when a spider is nearby. In some cases, arachnophobia is a learned response because they see other people fearing it.

In some places in the world, where people live close by to forests, seeing spiders does not cause that much of a reaction or fear. Australia is notorious for spiders.

Many people avoid Australian summers due to spider phobias and travel to different countries to avoid encounters with spiders.

The treatment available is similar to those given to people suffering from other phobias and anxiety. It is rarely known that there can be a rash due to the presence of spiders on the skin of people.

The phobia overwhelms the sufferer that they fear a lot more than the risk an item pertains. This phobia pertains to clinical distress to the patient and can affect their quality of life.

The treatment of these phobias is usually through clinical intervention. Behavior treatment is usually used in phobias against harmless creatures. Exposure and response prevention is also a form of treatment.

The Australian funnel-web spider is a dangerous spider because it has an aggressive nature. People experience nausea, difficulty in breathing, trembling, and sweating when encountered with a spider.

In some cases, even spider eggs and spider webs can cause a phobia.

If someone sees a spider, they cannot function properly unless they are assured that the spider has been disposed of.

Phobia of spiders is simply not fear of spiders, but an extreme fear and inability to function normally in the presence of spiders.

Causes Of Arachnophobia

Most scientists agree that arachnophobia is a learned response. Any thought or just the presence of a cobweb can unsettle a person.

It is said that about 3.5-6.1% of people suffer from arachnophobia. If a person sees their parents or people around them scared, then he or she is bound to have a fear of spiders. They show signs of the same fear as people in their surroundings.

Seeing scary spiders on the television also give people the perception that spiders are inherently scary animals in real life. When spiders jump and use their web for climbing, it involves them crawling with their multiple feet. Seeing this movement can trigger anxiety in people.

Usually, the fear is not limited to spider fear but also includes any arachnophobia fear. Any traumatic experience of the past of person can incite the feeling of danger.

There is also the theory, that humans have an inherent fear of snakes, spiders, and other crawling insects. It is an evolutionary response to feel fear of anything that looks unfamiliar and scary.

As you fear for the safety of your life when seeing or hearing wild animals, the same response is triggered while seeing a spider. Arachnophobia fear is developed as spiders can be seen more commonly.

There are known to be three components of a phobia according to scientists.

First is the experience of fear in people due to phobia, second is the physiological responses like elevated heart rate or sweating of palms.

And the third response is a motor response where a person runs or stays immobilized due to their phobia acting up.

Some people develop arachnophobia due to past traumatic experiences regarding them.

Symptoms Of Arachnophobia

There are many symptoms of arachnophobia. There is an intense physical reaction to seeing spiders. People cannot have rational thoughts not only around large spiders but also among different arachnids.

Some countries have a lot of dangerous spiders, and therefore people get scared. Media has also played an important in portraying spiders as threatening and creepy. People not being able to carry on with their daily life.

They are afraid of their and loved ones well being. Very extreme symptoms include adverse effects on mental health.

Intense fear can impair a person's vision and cloud their mind. It restricts their ability to move around and able to do regular activities. These people also experience irrational fear of other arachnids.

This phobia is most common in women. Certain phobias have more effect on women, and certainly have effects on men. If someone had a spider bite or a very traumatic experience with a spider in their past, they are likely to develop arachnophobia.

Arachnophobia can also grow worse when people think that a spider might be able to lay eggs near a person. A psychiatrist is the only person who can identify a phobia and treat it.

There is a diagnostic criterion according to which fears are differentiated from phobias. American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual states that the phobia should be persistent for at least six months before it can be classified as one.

Otherwise, the phobia comes under the category of fear. Serious disruption to the physical and mental well-being of a person is the cause of the phobia. A family history of phobias is often the reason for arachnophobia.

Virtual reality therapy is one of the methods used to lessen the fear of spiders. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is also one of the methods that can be used to conquer this phobia.

It is a very therapeutic technique in which left-right bilateral rhythmic stimulation is done for recovering from life-threatening experiences and phobias.

EMDR is a type of psychotherapy.

Bilateral stimulation is known to help reduce the impact of traumatic experiences and the patient's emotional response to them.

Treatments Of Arachnophobia

There are certain questions asked by the medical practitioner or a doctor regarding phobia. The time and duration of the phobia are recorded.

Treatment goals are discussed with the patient to know the level of treatment a patient is expecting. The medical history of the patient is also taken into consideration. The current coping skills of the patient are talked about and the direction of the treatment procedure is discussed.

Relaxation techniques have been proven effective to treat arachnophobia. Meditation is one of the popular relaxation methods which is used to calm down specific phobias.

It relaxes the nerves and also the anxiety symptoms Cognitive Behavioral therapy is also beneficial for the mental health of people suffering from phobias. The cognitive reframing method also helps to shift the way one thinks and perceives seemingly dangerous things. It can help change a person's physical reaction to a stimulus that is triggering.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is proven to be highly beneficial for people who develop arachnophobia. There is also systematic desensitization.

In this method, one employs various relaxation techniques to confront one's fears. It happens by combating the thing which produces less fear, and then the person can move on to things that scare them the most.

Negative thoughts which are automatically generated by seeing something can be controlled. Spiders are known to rarely bite people, and only in certain conditions when it feels threatened proceeds to attack its perpetrator. It is a self-defense mechanism for some spiders.

Not all spiders are harmful and have the ability to bite. Most spiders which live in the desert are capable of biting and harming.

Exposure therapy treatment exposes a person to their specific phobias. In the case of arachnophobia, one starts with reading books about common arachnids such as snakes and spiders. People usually fear spiders because they do not have proper information about them. Overall, religious or cultural beliefs, evolutionary response, and genetic influences are mostly responsible for causing arachnophobia.

In some cases, it is because of a traumatic experience of the past.

When a person is irrationally afraid or has anxiety about commonly occurring things in life, their physical health also takes a toll.

It is essential to overcome the symptoms by taking treatments to function normally in life and reduce adverse effects on health.

Exposure therapy is the most effective and extensively used treatment for arachnophobia.

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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

Abhijeet Modi picture

Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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