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How to Get Over Your Fear of Spiders

Updated on February 5, 2018
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Behavioral Response to Arachnophobia

Arachnophobia is the term used to identify people with the irrational fear of spiders, daddy long legs, scorpions, mites and ticks. However, majority of people will have a fear of spiders specifically. The word irrational is what really sets this phobia and all others phobias a part from simple fears. Fear can set in for a variety of situations like confronting a black bear in the woods, falling from a height without a parachute, or seeing a shadowy figure in the streets (hate this one). Your response may be extreme but appropriate for that level of exposure.


A typical response to seeing a spider, especially from a safe distance, may be to scream and quickly escape from the situation while removing any and all obstacles without concern for the well being of others. Feelings of anxiety will take over and you may feel your heart rate increase, shortness of breath, sweating and other bodily changes in response to the spider.


Beyond reacting irrationally to seeing a spider, the behaviors people may exhibit because of their phobia may be more subtle and time consuming. Avoiding areas like camp sites or forests, refusing to travel to certain countries or cities, avoiding movies and films with spiders as a theme, constantly checking their homes/clothing/furniture for spiders or checking those areas in another person's home.

Causes of Arachnophobia

The most common cause for this phobia may involve a traumatic experience involving a spider, usually at a very young age. You may recall the exact experience you had or you may not, the result is the same. Another cause may be your cultural exposure to spiders such as in horror films and in the media. This may come as a surprise but in some cultures the spider is considered a delicacy so fear is probably the last thing on their mind. The culture and practices at home are usually past on to the kids, even something like a shared fear of spiders may be learned. You can't always escape from what life throws at you but you can learn to adapt and move on to the best of your ability.

Treatments for Arachnophobia

There are many treatments available for people with arachnophobia, so choose the one you are most comfortable with or can afford. Behavioral Therapy is a route to take if you have the time and money to invest. This treatment involves reshaping your association with spiders to a more appropriate one. You may go from seeing spiders as hideous, dangerous, all around vile creatures to harmless, insignificant or even cute ( just trying to make a point).


Desensitization is another treatment your therapist may try that is very effective as well. You will be exposed to a spider(from a safe distance) in a non hostile environment and slowly over time you will be exposed to a spider from a closer distance. Your therapist may change the environment to someplace you find uncomfortable like a park, which makes the experience feel more real. Over time you may come to react to any spider without that overwhelming feeling of anxiety and panic.


If all else fails, medication may be right for you. A doctor may prescribe anti anxiety medication or sleep medication so you can get through the day more comfortably. The best course of action for those with severe phobias may be combining the anti anxiety medication with treatments with a therapist. Whatever you choose just remember, this is not a permanent ailment and many people have conquered their fears with a little time and effort and so can you.

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