Arachnophobia: An Irrational Fear or an Age-old Tradition?
Following through some news links I came across a link to a story on Fox News called '2 people dead after swarms of venomous spiders invade Indian town'. My cursor hovered over the link. I was curious. Part of me wanted to be freaked out by the photo I was certain would accompany the article. And part of me even thought, "be brave, you fool!"
But I can tell you no more about the content of the article. I only know what the title has revealed - that two people are dead in an Indian town because of spiders. VENOMOUS spiders, at that!
Why? Why haven't I clicked on the link and satisfied myself that I'm a grown-up and that I can indeed handle anything that's thrown at me? (Oh, and please, that doesn't mean that you can throw a spider at me. Want to see a grown woman sob and squeal and possibly faint??!)
It is a phobia. Arachnophobia, in fact. Nothing more, nothing less. But why has this particular fear chosen me? I like snakes. I like meeting new people. I even like flying. Why spiders?
For your viewing pleasure
For me personally, I can not think back to any one event that would have led to this irrational fear. But then, I'm sure that the event need not have been memorable or long-lasting for it to be significant.
Although no one knows for sure what causes arachnophobia, experts believe that it stems from us humans having used arachnophobia as a survival technique. Seeing as most spiders are venomous - although the vast majority are not dangerous to humans - it was wise to keep our distance from spiders. Passed on from generation to generation, this strive for survival has evolved into a phobia.
The other school of thought is that phobias like these are based on cultural beliefs. For example, most people would show a fear when confronted with a big spider, but those in South America eat large spiders so one would imagine that they would not be afraid.
Is it common?
Wikipedia suggests that:
"In Western societies as many as 55% of females and 18% of males are estimated to experience arachnophobia."
"Arachnophobia is the most common of all phobias."
With the help of a therapist, a person suffering with arachnophobia can go through systematic desensitisation, where they are first exposed to photos of spiders. Then they move on to coming face-to-face with a real spider. And finally, to holding a spider.
The therapist will help with relaxation techniques and in some cases, medication.
I won't be horrible and put any pictures of spiders on this page. It wouldn't do me any good either.
More by this Author
How do I copy video files from my desktop computer to my Apple device without having to convert the files into an Apple-friendly format?
Lack of adequate communication skills and stunted socialization are two of the major stumbling blocks that children with autism experience. How can we help them be heard?
This is tutorial for making a simple Friendship Bracelet.