Arachnophobia: What is it? (Why People Are Afraid of Spiders)

Fear of spiders, as they call it, general information

Many people are afraid of spiders, but few people know what this phobia is called. The teaching calls this problem arachnophobia, which the world's leading researchers are studying and eliminating.

Let's take a closer look at what is meant by the term arachnophobia. The disease mainly affects women. Only 10% of those who are afraid of spiders are men. Fear prevents people from going out into nature and entering dilapidated buildings. Those who are afraid of spiders are called arachnophobes.

Arachnophobia is the fear of more than just living insects. People panic when they see images of spiders and their webs. The main reason for the development of the disease is the fear of a fatal insect bite. However, there are other reasons for the development of a phobia.

For what reasons can a phobia appear?

Research has shown that those individuals who experience fear of arthropods do not know the mechanism for the development of arachnophobia. Let's look at the main reasons why people are afraid of spiders.

Personal experience

Fear of arthropods is often associated with an unpleasant personal experience when meeting a spider for the first time. Parents try to limit the child’s contact with insects, as a result of which the baby develops a dislike for these individuals.

Gradually, the feeling of hostility develops into a fear of spiders and even into a phobia . A negative attitude towards spiders also appears among those people who have suffered from a bite in the past.


Psychological disorders are transmitted from parents to children. If one of the adults suffers from arachnophobia, then there is a high probability that the disease with genes will be passed on to the child.

Such fear will control the baby throughout his life, causing him to show a violent reaction to spiders. This fact is confirmed by the fact that arachnophobia is a problem common in certain regions of the world.

Congenital feature of the nervous system

Individuals with psychological disorders have several phobias. Activation of panic attacks occurs when an arthropod suddenly appears before a person’s eyes. Very often, people with a disturbed nervous system perceive the animal’s movements as attacking actions.

Miseducation in childhood

Common reasons for the development of arachnophobia in children include: watching horror films and reading books in which spiders were the main characters. Teachers' stories about ancient species of arthropods, distinguished by their gigantic size and deadly bite, can serve as an impetus for the emergence of fears.

Modern biologists have proven that in the process of evolution, arachnids have not become more dangerous. There is no scientific evidence confirming that giant spiders remain on earth.


The sudden appearance of spiders can cause a panic attack in a person. Because of this, his pulse increases or his blood pressure increases. Persons who did not notice the approaching insect experience severe fear.

Anxiety is caused by the structural features of the spider's body .
A small body combined with long and numerous legs causes arachnophobes to panic.

Arachnophobia, what kind of disease is it: main symptoms

Symptoms accompanying arachnophobia are divided into immediate and delayed.

Momentary include:

  • state of “stupor”;
  • desire to run away;
  • fixation on the object of fear;
  • narrowing of consciousness up to its loss;
  • partial memory loss.

Delayed symptoms of a fear of spiders involve some kind of obsession. A person strives to turn his home into an impregnable bastion for spiders, even if they are not there. A person suffering from a phobia often cleans rooms, seals cracks, or refuses to open windows. He is characterized by excessive aggressiveness and irritability.

Many people who know what the fear of spiders is called and what its symptoms are, have no idea what the extreme form of this condition can lead to. Increased anxiety and extreme fear are painfully experienced by the patient. Although usually panic attacks are a response to the appearance of a stressor spider, over time they acquire a wave-like character and make themselves felt several times a month.

In addition to fear, a person experiences:

  • painful sensation in the chest area;
  • feeling your own heart;
  • disturbance and difficulty in thought processes;
  • numbness and tingling in the arms and legs;
  • worsening sleep;
  • abdominal pain, gastrointestinal disturbances;
  • unsteadiness of gait.

How to stop being afraid on your own

There are psychological trainings that teach how to get rid of arachnophobia yourself. The most effective behavioral technique is to approach a person with an object of fear.

Habituation begins with small individuals and ends with large-sized exotic animals. Those individuals who can overcome their fear will forever get rid of arachnophobia.

Keeping a spider in your home and caring for it will help a person cope with the problem on his own. In this case, the body turns on the mechanics of overcompensation, which completely frees the subject from the negative feelings he had towards insects.

Another good way to independently suppress a phobia is computer games that simulate the behavior of fearful people in virtual reality. Scientists have proven that the effectiveness of computer games will increase by 2 times when a person touches the monitor with his hand.

Genetic and other prerequisites for arachnophobia

A genetic predisposition to arachnophobia does not necessarily have to manifest itself in a person. The emergence of fear is provoked by personal negative experiences of “communication” with spiders. Researchers have found that almost all children are afraid of arthropods, but as they grow up, with the correct behavior of the adult environment, the fear of spiders completely disappears. (Many former arachnophobes keep spiders as pets.) If adults show a child their fear of insects or intimidate the baby with them, then the appearance of spider phobia will not take long to occur.

For a long time, there was an opinion among scientists that the fear of spiders has been embedded in the genetic memory of mankind since ancient times, when people were forced to protect themselves from external threats. But the existence of some modern tribes that completely lack arachnophobia refutes this version.

Most spiders are harmless

Interesting fact. What saves arthropods from complete destruction is the folk superstition that killing a spider is not good. Although adherents of some religious movements believe that for destroying a spider, 40 sins are forgiven.

Experts believe that some people who have never previously suffered from a fear of spiders can consciously “grow” it if they repeatedly replay in their minds a natural human reaction to an object (a spider) suddenly appearing in their field of vision. With each such repetition, the spider will be perceived with increasing fear.


The training includes exercises aimed at combating arachnophobia. They can be performed under the supervision of specialists or at home. Let's take a closer look at how to get rid of arachnophobia yourself.

Exercise to distance yourself from fear

To suppress fear, you need to master relaxation techniques. The exercises involve complete detachment from the object of the phobia and denial of its significance for the individual. To do this, it is necessary to take into account the characteristics of the human psyche.

People suffering from a phobia of spiders are more afraid of spiders in their own apartment . Fear is often associated with embellishing reality for various reasons. A person can cope with arachnophobia by mentally shrinking an insect to a small point.

Exercise getting rid of your spider

A popular method of treating arachnophobia is a graphic image of an insect. A person who is afraid of spiders is asked to draw a large specimen on paper and destroy the drawing with his own hands.

After this, the individual needs to draw small individuals. Training therapy continues until the person gets rid of his fears.

Treatment of arachnophobia

Treatment of arachnophobia with medication is used only if the disorder has become advanced and severe. Medications are used if it is necessary to relieve extensive symptoms of panic attacks. For these cases, the following drugs are recommended:

  • Antidepressants of the SSRI group.
  • Nootropics.
  • Tranquilizers

In other cases, various methods of psychotherapy are successfully used. It is working with a qualified specialist that can quickly and effectively help overcome arachnophobia and avoid relapses.

One of the effective methods of treatment is the method of confrontation. Its essence lies in the patient’s direct confrontation with the object of his phobia. Together with the doctor, he deliberately contemplates spiders visually and learns to manage his anxiety. The next stage is tactile contact with these animals. Gradually, the patient realizes that contacts with spiders do not pose any danger, and develops a calm, adequate attitude towards them.

The “virtual” method of treatment is no less effective. It was developed and successfully applied for the first time in Russia. The method itself is based on computer technology and uses the creation of virtual reality. Connected to special equipment, the patient virtually comes into contact with animals that are unpleasant to him, fighting with an incredible number of spiders. His job is to confront them directly and kill them all. This game teaches the patient to manage his fears of arachnids. And long-term therapy ensures absolute victory over arachnophobia.

American colleagues use similar technology for virtual treatment of phobias. Thus, patients are invited to play computer games in which the main mission is to kill spiders. The famous game “Minecraft” will allow anyone to easily cope with arachnophobia.

Killing spiders in Minecraft will help you overcome your fear of spiders

How to get rid of a phobia

Before dealing with arachnophobia, it is necessary to determine whether the person really has the disease. Many people dislike insects, but this is not a phobia. A psychologist or psychiatrist will be able to make the correct diagnosis after talking with the patient and collecting an anamnesis.


The main purpose of taking medications is to relieve the symptoms of a panic attack.

Medicines to reduce anxiety are divided into 3 groups:

  1. Antidepressants - normalize the general psychological state of a person and normalize the functioning of the central nervous system.
  2. Beta blockers are used to relieve the symptoms of arachnophobia, manifested by rapid heartbeat, body tremors and fainting. Drugs in this group have a relaxing effect on the human body.
  3. Tranquilizers - used in severe cases when previous medications do not give the desired result in the fight against arachnophobia. Treatment with tranquilizers is carried out under the supervision of a doctor, as they are addictive with prolonged use.

It is not recommended to independently select remedies to get rid of arachnophobia. Illiterate therapy has a negative impact on the human psyche and can cause the development of an even greater fear of spiders.

Is it possible to cure arachnophobia on your own?

This is almost impossible, at least such cases have not been encountered in medicine. This illness can only be overcome and cured with the help of a specialist - a certified psychologist, because this phobia is always embedded in very deep subconscious layers of the psyche, which a person cannot get to on his own.

This disease can only be treated under the supervision of a doctor, who will help find out the reason why this phobia arose. It is important to understand whether this fear was passed on as a birth trauma from parents or whether the person had a real situation in childhood when he was very frightened by a spider. And here we move to a very important phase. How can we work through this root cause in such a way as to get rid of and recover from arachnophobia forever?

As a rule, the cause itself is not related to spiders as such. The fact is that spiders outwardly personify something unknown, which means uncontrollable, uncontrollable and even dangerous. Therefore, the reason for the phobia may be that in early childhood some uncontrollable situations could have happened to the child, which he could not influence in any way.

For example, in the family there were constantly quarrels between the parents, the baby witnessed them, and he was afraid of not knowing how the scandal would end: the parents would divorce, or fight, or even take out all their negativity on him.

The danger could be directed directly at the child through, for example, some manipulative threats from the parents: “If you behave badly, I will whip you.” Also, the baby could observe pictures of his father mocking his mother. At such moments, children experience animal fear: for their safety, for life and health, for the fact that someone may violate personal boundaries.

In nature, a spider attacks its victim, bites through and sucks out the body of a fly or butterfly, so the human psyche projects fears of psychological or physical violence through spiders.

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