Spider phobia (arachnophobia) is one of our most common phobias. Phobia for spiders, like many other phobias, can cause unpleasant symptoms and avoid certain situations and activities.
Spider phobia occurs during encounters with spiders, but maybe even when you see a spider in the picture or think of spiders. Like many other phobias, spider phobia can be limiting. Camping, forest walks and trips to some countries can be seen as an impossibility due to phobia. Although most people with phobias realize that their reactions are exaggerated, it does not stop the fear and anxiety. The evasive behavior usually causes the phobia to get worse over time. However, there are treatments that help those like spider phobia and other phobias.
Symptoms of spider phobia
Spider phobia can be something that manifests itself with everything from mild symptoms to severe fear and panic anxiety. Most people react differently, and the symptoms may vary in intensity. The limit of phobia like illness is usually drawn where the symptoms start to have a negative impact on life. Physiologically purely many of the symptoms of spider phobia are due to a stress reaction going on in the body. More stress hormones than usual come out in the body and cause the blood pressure to rise.
Some common symptoms of spider phobia are:
- Panic feelings and panic anxiety
- Feeling it is hard to breathe
Causes of phobias
There are several different theories as to why spider phobia is such a common phobia. The most common and trusted is that it is about evolutionary causes; simply survival instinct. Some spiders can be toxic and phobia can be an inherited reaction from a time when we were exposed to greater dangers than today. Another theory is that spider phobia is a learned fear stemming from negative childhood experiences.
Treatment of spider phobia
The most common way to treat phobias is CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy. It is a form of treatment where you, at your own pace, face their fears and anxieties. CBT in phobias is usually called phobia training. You and your therapist work together to get rid of your phobia.
When treating spider phobia, you can work with so-called exposure. During phobia training, you are gradually exposed to increasingly difficult situations after you have learned how to deal with moderate difficulties. Step by step you practice coping with the situations and feeling less discomfort. How long you need phobia training can vary, but it usually takes months.
If the treatment is successful, the spider phobia decreases or disappears completely. Discomfort and tension can come when you come in contact with spiders, but now you may no longer have to avoid them completely.
When should you seek care for a phobia?
You should seek care at a health center or a psychiatric ward:
- If your spider or any other phobia affects or limits your life
- If a phobia has such a powerful impact on your life that you need to relieve your symptoms with alcohol, drugs or by hurting yourself