What is Arachnophobia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

Some people are fearful of small insects, and it disturbs their life. Today, we’ll discuss what is arachnophobia; its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Arachnophobia? 

Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders and other arachnids, and it also goes by the name of spider phobia. Arachnophobic condition falls under the category of specific phobia and it causes a significant amount of distress that disturbs the quality of life of a person. It would cause fear and anxiety immediately even thinking about arachnids when you aren’t around them.

According to an estimate, roundabout 3-15% of people have a specific type of phobia. Fear of heights and animals is the most prevalent form of specific phobia. It’s significant to mention here that fear of spiders is common, but it doesn’t mean that every person that has a fear of spiders also has an arachnophobic condition.

Symptoms of Arachnophobia 

People with arachnophobic conditions exhibit various forms of signs whether they are in contact with spiders or thinking about them. Some of the main symptoms of arachnophobia are as follows;

  • Anxiety response and panic attacks like need to escape, trembling, sweating, nausea, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty in breathing
  • Avoiding spiders
  • Out of proportion fear and anxiety from the danger of spiders
  • Immediate anxiety and fear episode while thinking about spiders

Physical symptoms

  • Clinging, freezing, tantrums, and crying
  • Dry mouth
  • Lightheadedness, faint feelings, and dizziness
  • Butterflies feelings and the upset stomach
  • Choking feelings
  • Flushing or chills/ hot and red face
  • Difficult breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat and tight in your chest
  • Shaking and sweating

The impacts of arachnophobia would badly disturb your life. You would experience uncomfortable feelings and panic attacks with the knowledge that there’s a spider in the house. In such a case, you would avoid all types o outdoor activities that have the possibility of having the spiders like going to the park, in nature or hiking.

It is important to mention here that being fearful of something doesn’t mean that you have a specific phobia. You would meet the criteria of specific phobia when it disturbs your daily life and reduces your quality of life.

Causes of Arachnophobia 

Various factors could cause the arachnophobic condition, and they’re as follows;

Family/Genetic Influences

Many research studies have shown that a specific form of phobia has got links with genetics. The environment of the family plays a significant role in the development of the phobia. For instance, if the parents are exposed to specific types of phobia, kids would learn about phobia from them and respond to it accordingly.

Religious/Cultural Beliefs

Some particular types of religious and cultural influence would cause the development of a specific phobia. This type of specific phobia is completely different from the other types of specific phobia that the general public experience.

Evolutionary Responses

Out resistance to arachnids is ancestral and survival instinctive response, it allows us to protect ourselves from danger.

Diagnosis of Arachnophobia 

When you follow the diagnostic and statistical criteria of APA, then the specific phobia is completely different from the ordinary fearful response. Your doctor or therapist would diagnose the specific phobia by using the criteria.

The diagnostical criteria require that the symptoms of the specific phobia should be present for at least 6 months and cause a lot of stress and disturb a person’s life. Your doctor would ask you clinical questions relevant to the duration, intensity, and symptoms. Your therapist needs to know about your medical history and your fear management skills.

Treatment of Arachnophobia 

The treatment plan for arachnophobia comprises CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), just like any other type of specific phobia. The focus of CBT is to stop the negative automatic thought pattern that has an association with fearful objects and replace them with positive thoughts. However, the process comprises of following steps;

  • Systematic Desensitization: It follows a relaxation method, and then it makes you face the fear and the elements that are producing fear.
  • Cognitive Reframing: It comprises of shifting your perception and looking at things differently and perceiving them as not-stress and non-dangerous. It allows you to change your response and reaction to the triggering factors like seeing the spider.

Virtual Reality Therapy

Many research studies have shown that VR therapy is a very effective treatment method. It exposes a person to the virtual image of spiders and teaches you to manage your fearful responses.

EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing)

EMDR is a very effective treatment if you have developed a specific phobia due to a traumatic event. Doctors also prescribe medicines to treat the other symptoms of EMDR.

Self Coping Techniques

Some of the self-coping techniques are as follows;

  • Relaxation methods like meditation, yoga, mindfulness practices, etc
  • Self-care like eating healthy food, exercising, and following a scheduled lifestyle
  • Gradually exposing yourself to the fearful objects

Conclusion: What is Arachnophobia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is arachnophobia; its symptoms, causes, and treatment; we have realized that arachnophobia could badly disturb your life. If you’re experiencing its symptoms, then you should follow the abovementioned treatment plan.