Arachnophobia - The fear of spiders and other arachnids


Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders and other arachnids. It is a very common phobia. Those with arachnophobia feels difficult to be in areas where there are visible signs of spiders. They gets panic on seeing a spider and will get humiliated if they panic in the presence of others. it is reported that about 50% of women and 10% of men have this phobia. Mostly Europeans are caught by this phobia. Arachnophobics are of two types, monitors who search for spiders and monitors its movements and blunters who does any thing to avoid seeing a spider.

Symptoms

Sweating, breathlessness, panic, heart palpitations, screaming, freezing in a place, running away, nausea, dizziness, limiting activities to those where there is no chance for seeing a spider.

Causes

Fear of venomous spidersis the cause of this fear. After tenth century Europeans believed spiders as the cause of plague and hence the fear developed among them and flourished as a heriditary disease. The experience of fear, physiological response along with motor responses lead to this phobia. It is also believed that as most of the spiders are venomous our ancestors induced this fear in children as a survival teghnique. This is folowed in genes to new generation also.

Treatment

Systematic desensitisation is the traditional method of treatment in which the phobiac slowly learns to face the fear. They are slowly exposed to the picture of spiders and later with real ones. Virtual reality is yet another method in which patient wears a VR helmet or VR glove. They move VR glove until they feel that a spider is moving across the hand. This spider image is a 3D image generated by a computer. Behaviour treatment is yet another acceptable method in which arachnophobics are educated about spiders. They are made to familiarise with spiders. Cognitive Behavioural therapy is also useful. Aversion therapy or direct shock therapy where patients are forced to move close to a spider and to stop when they feel ultimate fear. Stopping reduces the fear and then they are to move more closer. This method can slowly reduce the phobia. Hypnosis is also found useful. Medicines are given to reduce anxiety along with Psychotherapy.

Alternative medicine

There are homeopathic medicines too to reduce fear and anxiety. This is gaining popularity now a days.

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