ARACHNOPHOBIA


| 6 Comments

brown_widow_spider_large.jpg

My best friend has always been extremely afraid of spiders.  Once, she even almost caused an accident when we were driving because she saw a spider in the car and literally jumped on my lap while I was driving.  I had to pull over and kill the spider.  I always ask myself...is it possible that someone can be THAT afraid of a little harmless spider?!  I guess I can't understand because I am not afraid of spiders myself, but I decided to research if arachnophobia is really an actual thing.  As it turns out...arachnophobia is very real.  A phobia is an irrational, persistent fear of things or situations (Mental Healthy).  More specifically, arachnophobia is an extreme or irrational fear of spiders.  In the US, 50% of women and 25% of men say they have some degree of arachnophobia.  Someone is arachnophobic when their fear of spiders reaches a level that is irrational, illogical, and unhelpful (Mental Healthy).  A very intense panic reaction can be caused.  Some symptoms are sweating, increased heart beat, breathing difficulties, light-headedness, dry mouth, extreme fear, nausea, and more.  This was a shock to me.  I couldn't believe that a little spider could cause such strong reactions in people.  Phobias are different than rational fears, and they can have a negative affect on people's lives and might require treatment.  Arachnophobia has been around for a while.  Studies have shown that arachnophobia in Europe can be traced back to the Middle Ages.  Different people develop arachnophobia for different reasons.  Some people have a bad experience that evokes the phobia.  Other people have had no awful experiences with spiders but have just always been afraid of spiders, usually from childhood.  When people with arachnophobia see a spider, a fight or flight response is provoked.  For people who have the phobia very bad, it can affect their lives a lot.  They might not want to go anywhere where they could even see a spider, like on a camping trip.  This phobia can be overcome with counseling for many.  I always thought my friend was overreacting and being a drama queen.. But I guess she wasn't joking around!  Are any of you guys arachnophobics?  Would you ever consider counseling to overcome it?  What draws the line between being very afraid of spiders, or having an actual phobia of them?


Work Cited

http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/anxiety/phobias/arachnophobia.html

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-arachnophobia.htm

http://arachnophiliac.info/burrow/catch_arachnophobia.htm

6 Comments

I have to admit that I also suffer from arachnophobia. Yesterday there was a spider hanging in the stairwell and I waited five minutes for it to reach the ground and walk away before I continued down the steps. Some spiders can actually harm you so I guess there is a reason for the fear. But there are so many other irrational fears that seem plain ridiculous but are real. For instance, Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is the fear of long words. Not kidding. There are also fears of garlic, responsibility, computers. There are phobias for just about anything really.

It makes me wonder where we develop these phobias. I know there are certain events one goes through as a child that could cause these phobias, but can they also be hereditary?

I definitely have some level of arachnophobia. For as long as I can remember, I've been deathly afraid of spiders and I can't seem to understand why. Everything about spiders - the legs, the wiggly movement, and hideous aesthetics definitely contribute to my fear/hate of spiders. Many people deal with phobias and I found this website (http://www.helpguide.org/mental/phobia_symptoms_types_treatment.htm) which outlines tips on how to overcome phobias. Though this may not be helpful for everyone, I read some good tips that definitely have the potential to help someone overcome a phobia. Some tips I read were to blatantly face your fears constantly until you get used to it and even challenging negative thoughts. It seems to be that phobias are mostly, if not entirely, related to ones mentality. I believe that it just takes the right mindset to overcome phobias but like most things, it is easier said than done. I personally don't see myself overcoming my fear of spiders anytime soon but I would surely like to

Everyone has at least one thing that they are afraid of, it just depends on how serious the phobia is. I have mild acrophobia, which is the fear of heights, and my dad has serious claustrophobia, or the fear of being in too tight a space. Regardless of what fear you might have, it is important to do your best to confront your fear, as it can start to affect your day to day life. Overcoming a fear is one of the greatest feelings in the world, and can help develop the confidence needed to confront other challenges in life.

I remember a show on TLC not to long ago about breaking people of their irrational fears. Some of the fears included moths, butterflies, lizards, and even went on beyond animals to things such as silly string. While watching the show you could definitely see the symptoms you mentioned in the show members. They would start off with easy, less imposing activities to help them in getting over their fear, and almost always move to a method of complete immersion. This usually had a promising effect but sometimes backfired and resulted in being a harm to the patient. I too have a friend that freaks out when it comes to spiders. Maybe not as bad as jumping into my lap while I am driving a car but she is quite verbal about how much she dislikes them. I have heard a few ideas before as to why some people have phobias that they do and one of the theories that I like to believe is that our phobias are left over psychological traces of innate emotions that were present back in the cavemen days where our instincts were relied upon to survive. These instincts (like avoiding the dark because of what's unknown and you can't prepare for, and from staying away from spiders because some spiders are poisonous and ones that aren't can lead to infectious bites) are what kept us alive and what eventually transformed into phobias for some people along the way.

There can definitely be a fear of arachnophobia as they pointed out above there are all kinds of crazy phobias that don't even seem like they are real, but to the person that has them it is very real. People could possibly be scared of things such as spiders because of some of the movies like Arachnophobia (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aQ6vg3JB2U) which involves a deadly spider who's bite can kill super fast if not almost right away. I am not going to lie I personally do not like spiders too much because I do not want to get bit by them. Some spiders like the wolf spider (take a nice bite out of you) or a black widow (has hour glass on back) are not a spider that I want to mess with.

When I was younger, I had The Audubon Guide to Insects of North America. I was absolutely terrified of the spider section, just because I had the silly belief that they would jump out of the page. Needless to say, years later, I still suffer from arachnophobia. Is it possible for people with arachnophobia to have other fears of insects? Is there a point where arachnophobia becomes an illogical fear that can consume someone's entire life? If that is the case, is there a way to treat arachnophobia?

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