Understanding Arachnophobia
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Understanding Arachnophobia

Arachnophobia is a fear of spiders Fear of spiders explained

Arachnophobia comes from the Greek words arachne meaning spider and phobos meaning fear.  It is a specific, intense fear of spiders and other arachnids such as scorpions,

Many people think it is an irrational fear and they cannot understand it. It also prompted one of the most famous spoof horror films of all time Arachnophobia, which was made in 1990. It was about a newly discovered spider from South America that is transported to the American town of Canaima by stowing away in the coffin of one of its victims. When it mates with a domestic house spider a new race of deadly spiders is produced which kill Canaima's residents one by one.

The film is billed as a Comedy-Horror, but Arachnophobia is no joke to those who actually suffer from it. Even the thought or a picture of a spider can trigger a panic attack and the phobia is completely different to someone who just dislikes spiders.

Arachnophobia can affect where people live, what kind of work they do and what hobbies can be undertaken.


  • Excessive sweating or clamminess
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • A feeling of panic

The phobia is often caused by an incident in their early life which was really frightening. It triggered off a long-lasting phobia created by the mind, even though the sufferer may not even remember the original incident.

There are different degrees of Arachnophobia and people who suffer from the worst degree of the phobia cannot even enter a room without getting someone to check it for spiders first.


The most common form of treatment is aversion or behaviour therapy. Sufferers are taught all about spiders which allow them to understand what is going on in their mind and counteract their feelings of fear.Familiarisation with the creatures tends to desensitise the anxiety. 

Medication is also used to keep the levels of anxiety under control, once the sufferer has calmed down the therapy sessions can begin. Psychotherapy is also used as the panic attacks are caused by a mental state, but treatment varies from person to person and depends on the degree of the Arachophobia they are suffering from.

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Comments (1)

A great read Amanda, i am frightened of spiders and I know it's totally irrational, but there is nothing I can do about it. I have heard about the aversion therapy, but I am too scared to try it !!