Arachnophobia is defined as a persistent and abnormal fear of spiders. Depending on the severity of the fear, arachnophobia can interfere with a wide range of decisions made by an individual which include how he lives, where he goes for a vacation, what hobbies he enjoys, etc. Treatment of Arachnophobia becomes imperative in individuals who suffer from excessive fear of the spider which can interfere with the social interactions and performance.
Symptoms Of Arachnophobia
The symptoms associated with arachnophobia are very similar to symptoms associated with any kind of fear, except that they come on by the mere thought, mention or sight of spiders.
The symptoms associated with arachnophobia include the following,
- Excessive sweating: Fear results in increased stimulation of the production of adrenaline and noradrenaline, which are considered to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This stimulation of the nervous system results in excessive sweating and clamminess of the extremities, especially the hands.
- Rapid breathing can also be experienced due to over production of adrenaline. Rapid breathing is often associated with increase in heart rate and palpitation.
- Dizziness and nausea are also some of the commonly observed symptoms along with the condition.
- Confusion and anarchy may result in inability to think clearly or concentrate on a task. This is primarily due to distraction the individual experiences due to the fear.
What Causes Arachnophobia?
Unfortunately, there is no definitive cause for the development of the condition. Some experts however suggest that the reason behind the behavior can be explained based on certain theories,
- Cultural background of an individual plays a crucial role. Cultural perception of spiders is very important since individual living in Africa have a fear of large spiders which are often considered to be very poisonous; on the other hand fear of spiders is not experienced in cultures of South America, where spiders are consumed as a delicacy.
- Another theory believes, that the development of the fear can arise from a past event or episode in an individual’s life. Though several individuals may not be able to remember the event associated with the development of the phobia, the panic factor continues to trigger the phobia.
How To Deal With Fear Of Spiders?
There are several relaxation techniques which can be used to alleviate tension in the individual’s daily life and help him/her overcome the internal fear. One of the most commonly used techniques for the management of fears is systemic desensitization.
Using Paslow’s theory, every time an individual experiences a panic attack due to fear of spiders, the individual is explained about the non existence or harmlessness of the spider. This technique attempts to gradually reduce the fear of spider and sensitize the individual to each increasing episode of interaction. The technique attempts to reduce anxiety and panic associated with different objects and situations, by combining therapeutic intervention with psychotherapy.
Various relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga are considered to help the patient cope with their fears. Fear is often closely associated with levels of stress in an individual’s life. Family and peer support is imperative in helping an individual overcome his/her fear of spiders.