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Why We’re So Scared of Spiders

All of us are scared of something, like darkness, heights, or tight spaces. But most people share the same fear: nearly everyone dislikes spiders.

5-Minute Crafts decided to find out more about spiders and the reasons why people don’t like them.

❗ Important: This article is for informative purposes only and can’t replace the recommendations of experts.

What arachnophobia is

Arachnophobia is a spider phobia that includes the fear of other arachnids, such as scorpions. When we come in contact with these things or just think about arachnids, people might feel fear and anxiety. The word comes from 2 Greek words — “arachne,” meaning “spider,” and “phobos,” which means “fear.”

There is a difference between being scared of spiders and suffering from arachnophobia. If you have arachnophobia, you might experience many specific symptoms, whether you are around a spider or just thinking about one. These symptoms might include:

  • Immediate fear and anxiety when thinking about a spider
  • Fear that is disproportionate to the danger a spider presents
  • Avoiding spiders at all costs
  • Panic reactions, such as difficulty breathing, elevated heartbeat, nausea, sweating, wanting to escape, and shivering

Arachnophobia may have a significant influence on the quality of your life. For example, you might panic or feel uncomfortable at home knowing there’s a spider around. You might also avoid going outside to areas where there may be spiders, like parks, for example.

Causes

One of the possible causes is evolutionary. Many spiders are venomous, so thanks to evolution, humans know this very well, and having a fear of them is natural. The innate fear of spiders may be a defense mechanism.

For example, people can find spiders on a picture with flowers faster than flowers on a picture of spiders. This is because reacting to spiders is more important from an evolution standpoint.

Another reason is cultural influence. Some individuals within certain cultural or religious groups seem to have phobias that stem from these influences. But for example, in Papua New Guinea or Cambodia, spiders are eaten and people are not scared of them.

Past experience plays a very important role too — if you or someone you know has been bitten by a spider, there’s a chance you will develop a phobia.

How to overcome your fear

  • Read about spiders. You will find out that they rarely bite people if they’re not threatened. Some spiders may cause an allergic reaction. Even though some spiders may be dangerous, most of them are completely harmless.
  • Stay away from spiders. Keep firewood outside to prevent spiders from getting in. Make sure there are nets on the windows and doors. Remove spiderwebs from the attic and garage.
  • Discuss the phobia with your relatives and tell them you want to beat it. Ask a doctor to refer you to a specialist.
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