56- Arachnophobia


56- Arachnophobia

Arachnophobia or the fear of spiders is the oldest and most common phobia in the Western culture. The word Arachnophobia is derived from the Greek word ‘arachne’ meaning spiders. The response to spiders shown by an arachnophobic individual may seem irrational to others and often to the sufferer himself

Causes of Arachnophobia

Fear of Spiders Phobia - Arachnophobia

Scientists who have studied this fear of spiders explain it to be a result of evolutionary selection. This means that Arachnophobia is an evolutionary response, since spiders, especially the venomous ones, have always been associated with infections and disease. Hence, the fear of spiders triggers a “disgust response” in many individuals

A study conducted in the UK on 261 adults showed that nearly 32% women and 18% men in the group felt anxious, nervous or extremely frightened when confronted with a spider(real or images)

The exact causes of Arachnophobia are different for different people

For some people, it is a learned response: they learn to fear spiders after having seen others being fearful

An imbalance in brain chemicals may be linked with Arachnophobia

The fear of spiders can be a family or cultural trait: many people in Africa are known to fear large spiders whereas in South Africa, where they eat spiders, most are unafraid

Traumatic experience in the past involving spiders is another reason for Arachnophobia

Symptoms of Arachnophobia

Initial symptoms of arachnophobia or the fear of spiders may appear in one’s childhood or adolescence. However, following a traumatic episode, some or all of the following symptoms may be present at all ages when the sufferer is confronted with the object of the phobia, in this case, a spider

Rapid heart rate


Hot or cold flashes

Feeling of going crazy and losing control

Chest pain

Feeling of choking

Inability to distinguish between reality and unreality

Trembling sweating

Thoughts of death

Nausea or other gastrointestinal distress

In some arachnophobic individuals, these symptoms may be triggered merely by anticipating contact with a spider. Even the sight or mention of cobwebs can trigger such a response

Treatment for fear of spiders

True sufferers of the fear of spiders have an extreme aversion to these creatures so much so, that their daily life may be adversely impacted. These individuals show an active need to avoid areas where spiders may be present. A combination of therapy, counseling, and medications must be used to treat this fear

It is important that one aggressively seek out the chosen treatment for it to be effective. Medicines like benzodiazepines are helpful in reducing the intensity of the reactions in presence of spiders, but they must be used sparingly and under medical supervision. Relaxation techniques like meditation and positive reaffirmations also form an essential part of the therapy

One of the more modern methods of treating Arachnophobia includes systematic desensitization. This is a method that has been used for treating many different phobias. The goal of gradual desensitization is to slowly eliminate one’s Arachnophobia and help the individual cope with fear. An application called Phobia Free is known to utilize this gradual exposure technique to help people overcome their fear of spiders. It is available for tablet computers and Smartphone devices. This app, which has been reviewed and approved by the NHS of UK, uses game-play and relaxation methods to help one confront spiders (or other objects of fear)

If you or someone you know is severely impacted by the fear of spiders then it is essential to seek help in order to lead a more relaxed life. It is possible to eliminate Arachnophobia but the first step is to ask for help in order to learn to cope and eliminate the fear completely

Arachnophobia (Fear of Spiders)

Fear of spiders becomes a phobia when it consumes your thoughts, interferes with your daily activities and keeps you from socializing with your family and friends. Symptoms of arachnophobia include sweating or shaking and tightness in your chest or rapid heartbeat. Behavior therapies along with relaxation and breathing exercises are the main treatment options

?What is arachnophobia

Arachnophobia is an intense fear of spiders

Many fears seems reasonable. We all try to avoid things that make us feel uncomfortable. The difference between a fear and a phobia is that a phobia is an intense and irrational fear toward one or more things or situations. Also, with phobias, the level of your fear doesn’t match the actual danger presented by the feared object or situation

Phobias become a health issue when the fear interferes with your ability to carry out daily activities. Phobias can limit your ability to work efficiently, can put a strain on your relationships and reduce your self-esteem. In this case, for example, you might purposely avoid outdoor activities (hikes, picnics, biking) or seasonal activities (Halloween) with family or friends because of your fear that spiders might be present

?What situations can trigger arachnophobia

Common triggers include

Sight of a spider (in person or in pictures)

Sight of a spider web (in person or in pictures)

Thoughts/anticipation about spiders or spider webs

Speaking about spiders or spider webs

?What does arachnophobia feel like

If you have arachnophobia

You feel anxious about seeing or thinking about spiders or spider webs. Your anxiety worsens as you get closer to the encounter

You have trouble concentrating and functioning. You’re consumed by thoughts of spiders. These thoughts keep you up at night

?How common is arachnophobia

About 3% to 15% of the population has arachnophobia

?Who gets arachnophobia

Arachnophobia is more common in females than males. Although anyone, at any age, can develop a specific phobia, such as arachnophobia, most develop in childhood and adolescence


?What are the symptoms of arachnophobia

Symptoms of arachnophobia are similar to symptoms of anxiety and a panic attack. You may experience

Physical symptoms

Sweating or shaking

Tightness in your chest or rapid heartbeat

Trouble breathing or breathing fast

Chills or flushing (red, hot face)

A choking feeling

Upset stomach or feeling “butterflies” in your stomach

Dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded

Dry mouth

Crying, tantrums, freezing or clinging (symptoms of a specific phobia in children, although adults can experience these symptoms too)

?How does a person with arachnophobia typically act

If you have arachnophobia, you may

Avoid places or situations in which you might experience a spider or spider web or see pictures of them

Choose to stay where you feel most comfortable and turn down social activities or family and friend gatherings due to your fear

Scream, run or cry if you see a spider

Freeze in place because of your fear

?What causes arachnophobia

What causes arachnophobia isn’t fully understood. Researchers believe causes might include

A traumatic past experience with a spider

Childhood exposure to a parent’s arachnophobia. You may develop arachnophobia if you felt the anxieties of one of your parent’s reactions to spiders

Family history of anxiety disorders. This could increase your chance of developing a phobia, such as arachnophobia

Technically, scientists believe neurochemicals overstimulate an area of your brain — your amygdala — in the presence of fear. There’s also thought that a single genetic mutation can increase your risk of arachnophobia if you have that gene defect


?How is arachnophobia diagnosed

If you have arachnophobia, you know you have a fear of spiders and you know it’s a problem because you take great caution in avoiding situations in which you might encounter a spider

Your healthcare provider will want to confirm that your fear is a phobia versus a normal level of fear and that it’s not the result of a medical condition or psychiatric disorder. Phobias significantly interfere with your ability to live a normal life. Your provider may give you a questionnaire to fill out or ask you directly how your arachnophobia has affected your daily life, how intense your fear feels and how often you feel it. They may also ask how you cope

Your provider will make the diagnosis of arachnophobia if you have all of the following

Your fear of spiders is intense and has been present six months or longer

Your fear or anxiety is about a specific situation or object — in this case, spiders

Your fear and anxiety almost always happen as soon as you encounter a spider or think about spiders

You avoid places you think there are spiders or endure it with intense fear or anxiety

Your fear is out of proportion to the actual danger

Your fear causes you significant distress or significantly hampers your ability to function


?How is arachnophobia treated

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy are the two main treatments for arachnophobia

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of psychotherapy (talk therapy) focuses on managing your phobia by changing the way you think, feel and behave

During CBT, you’ll

Discuss your symptoms and describe how you feel

Explore your phobia more deeply to gain insight into how to respond

Learn how to recognize, reevaluate and change your thinking

Use problem-solving skills to learn how to cope

Face your phobia instead of avoiding it

Learn how to keep your mind and body calm

Exposure therapy (also called desensitization therapy): In this type of psychotherapy, you are gradually exposed to your feared situation. With gradual, repeated exposure, the goal is that you will feel comfortable when faced with your feared situation and, in this case, to recognize that spiders are not dangerous (unless you live in parts of the country known for dangerous spiders)

Exposure therapy may involve

Recalling and describing your feared experience

Looking at pictures or using virtual reality to get close to the real feared experience yet be in a safe environment

Facing your feared phobia directly, in real life

Exposure therapy can be paced in in several ways. Therapy also includes relaxation and breathing exercises. Your psychologist will develop a unique plan for you, based on the severity of your symptoms

CBT and exposure therapy are often used together in a single treatment plan. CBT helps you gain insight into your fears, then exposure therapy helps desensitize your body’s “fight or flight” response to spiders

?Are medications used to treat arachnophobia

Medications don’t treat arachnophobia, but are sometimes prescribed, for a short period of time, to treat the anxiety caused by your fear of spiders. Medications, if used, are usually part of total psychotherapy treatment plan. If your healthcare provider thinks you need medication, the drug classes most often prescribed are

Benzodiazepines, such as the antianxiety drugs alprazolam (Xanax®), clonazepam (Klonopin®) and diazepam (Valium®)

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as the antidepressants paroxetine (Paxil®) or escitalopram (Lexapro®)

Other medication options may include sedatives, tranquilizers and beta blockers


?What can I do to better cope with arachnophobia

In addition to seeing your primary healthcare provider or psychologist, you can try any of the following that make you feel comfortable

Learn strategies to relax: Try deep breathing exercises (breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, hold for three seconds, breathe out slowly through your mouth), mediation, mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation (tensing and relaxing muscle groups) and other methods to relax. Visualize and focus your attention on something that makes you calm

Take care of yourself: Eat a well-balanced diet, follow good sleep habits and exercise for 30 minutes at least five days a week. Healthy lifestyle choices can decrease your anxiety

Join a support join for individuals with phobias: Support groups can be very useful for knowing you are not alone and for sharing tips and advice


?What can I expect if I have a diagnosis of arachnophobia

Without treatment, a phobia can last a lifetime and can isolate you from people and social activities

Fortunately, phobias are very treatable. Psychotherapy — exposure therapy in particular — helps as many as 90% of people who are committed to practicing the therapy they learned. You may notice improvements within weeks to a few months


How do I know at what point I need to see my doctor for my arachnophobia

It may be time to see your healthcare provider if your intense fear of spiders

Interferes with your daily activities

Keeps you away from outdoor activities or special events with family and friends

Consumes your thoughts most of the time

Keeps you up at night

A note from Cleveland Clinic

It may be comforting to know that many people have phobias. Your healthcare provider is ready to help you. The good news is that arachnophobia is a treatable condition. With treatment and your commitment to practice the techniques you learn in therapy, you can learn to manage your fear of spiders and enjoy your life


رهاب العناكب واعراضه واسبابه وعلاجاته 

هل يمكن ان يكون العنكبوت مصدر خوف وفزع ؟هل يمكن ان يخاف من ان يغادر بيته لعلمه بوجود عنكبوت بالقرب من باب بيته ؟ هل يمكن لشخص ان لا يفتح نافذه غرفته ابدا لوجود خيوط عنكبوت قريبه؟
نعم هذا كله وارد الحدوث وأكثر من ذلك بكثير فالخوف من العناكب احد أشهر أنواع الفوبيا التي تسبب لصاحبها الكثير من المعاناة الحياتية. ويعرف باسم رهاب العناكب Arachnophobia أراكنوفوبيا .

ما هو رهاب العناكبArachnophobia

رهاب العناكب Arachnophobia ويعرف ابضا بspider phobia ، وهو الخوف الشديد من العناكب والعنكبوتيات الأخرى . وهو واحد من اشهر أنواع الفوبيا وأقدمها، وكلمة Arachnophobia مشتقة من الكلمة اليونانية “arachne” والتي تعني العناكب وphobia كلمة يونانية تعني خوف مبالغ فيه وغير منطقي.

ومصطلح الرهابphobia يشير إلى خوف كبير وغير عقلاني من الحيوانات والأشياء والأماكن ، بالإضافة إلى مواقف معينة. 

ورهاب العناكب(أراكنوفوبيا) أكثر من مجرد الخوف من العناكب و العنكوبيات . فهو خوف شديد ومسبب للشلل حيث يتجنب شخص ما الاتصال بالعناكب او ان يري شبكة عنكبوت فهذا يجعله يفكر ان هناك عنكبوت قادم اليه .
بل وقد يظهر هذا الخوف عندما يري صورة لعنكبوت او العنكوبيات ، وبلا شك هذا يمكن أن يؤثر ذلك على حياة الشخص اليومية لأنه يقيد المكان الذي يمكنه الذهاب إليه وما يمكنه القيام به

فالعناكب موجوده في كل مكان تقريباً. وهذا يعني ان حياه الشخص المصاب برهاب العناكب مأساوية. فالأشخاص الذين يعانون من رهاب العناكب الشديد لديهم نفور شديد من العناكب لدرجة أنهم قد يخشون الذهاب إلى الطابق السفلي أو المرآب لأن العنكبوت قد يكون موجودًا. إذا واجهوا عنكبوتًا ، فقد يغادرون المنزل بدلاً من التعامل معه.

ويُصنف رهاب العناكب على أنه رهاب محدد ، والرهاب المحدد هو الخوف غير المنطقي من شيء من غير المحتمل أن يسبب خطرًا.و وتم تشخيص ما بين 3٪ و 15٪ من الأفراد بمرض الرهاب المحدد في جميع أنحاء العالم.

ضع في اعتبارك أن الخوف من العناكب أمر شائع ، إلا أنه ليس كل شخص يشعر بالخوف عندما يري عنكبوت لديه رهاب العناكب.

بمعني نحن نعلم أن العديد من أنواع العناكب سامة وتلدغ ، ونعرف ذلك من خلال التجربة المباشرة ، والعلوم ، والبيولوجيا ، والتلفزيون ، ورؤية الآخرين يتعرضون للعض لذلك ، عندما نرى عنكبوتًا بالقرب منا ، فإن الاستجابة الطبيعية هي الشعور بالخوف وتجنب العنكبوت.”

أعراض رهاب العناكب

يمكن أن تظهر أعراض رهاب العناكب في البداية أثناء الطفولة أو المراهقة. كما يمكن أن تظهر في البالغين. وإذا كنت تعاني من رهاب العناكب ، فقد تواجه مجموعة متنوعة من الأعراض المحددة المرتبطة بالرهاب سواء كنت في وجود عنكبوت أو كنت تفكر فقط في واحد.
قد تشمل أعراض رهاب العناكب ما يلي:

  • الخوف والقلق الفوري عندما ترى أو تفكر في عنكبوت وهذا الخوف أو القلق لا يتناسب مع الخطر الذي يشكله العنكبوت عليك.
  • صعوبة التنفس
  • سرعة ضربات القلب
  • لغثيان
  • التعرق
  • الارتجاف
  • الحاجة إلى الهروب
  • ألم في الصدر
  • الشعور بالاختناق
  • اضطرابات الجهاز الهضمي الأخرى

يمكن أن تؤثر آثار رهاب العناكب بشكل كبير على نوعية حياتك. على سبيل المثال ، قد تعاني من أعراض الهلع ولا تشعر بالراحة في منزلك مع العلم بوجود عنكبوت هناك. يمكنك أيضًا تجنب الانخراط في الأنشطة الخارجية حيث قد تكون العناكب موجودة ، مثل التنزه أو التنزه في الحديقة.

تذكر أن
الخوف من شيء ما لا يعني وجود نوع معين من الرهاب عندك . ومن أجل الحصول على تشخيص لفوبيا معينة ، يجب استيفاء معايير معينة ، بما في ذلك تعطيل أعمال الحياة اليومية وانخفاض جودة حياتك بسبب شدة الخوف.
كما يتطلب تشخيص نوع معين من الرهاب أن تظل الأعراض موجودة لمدة ستة أشهر على الأقل وتسبب ضائقة كبيرة أو اضطرابًا في حياتك ورفاهيتك.

أسباب رهاب العناكب

قد يكون سبب رهاب العناكب هو مواجهة واحدة أو عدة لقاءات مؤلمة مع العناكب. قد يكون سبب رهاب العناكب أيضًا:

  • قد يكون هذا الخوف الشديد من العناكب وغيرها من العناكب ذات الثمانية أرجل (مثل العقارب) في الواقع استجابة تطورية: لقد ارتبطت العناكب ، وخاصة السامة منها ، منذ فترة طويلة بالأمراض والالتهابات.
  • المعتقدات الثقافية و / أو الدينية: يبدو أن بعض الأفراد داخل مجموعات ثقافية أو دينية معينة يعانون من الرهاب الناجم عن هذه التأثيرات. تختلف أنواع الرهاب هذه عن الرهاب الشائع بين عامة السكان ، مما يجعل الثقافة والدين عوامل محتملة في تطور الرهاب.

  • التأثيرات الوراثية أو العائلية: يعتقد الباحثون أنه قد يكون هناك مكون وراثي مرتبط بالرهاب. قد تؤثر العوامل البيئية الأسرية أيضًا على تطور الرهاب. على سبيل المثال ، إذا كان أحد الوالدين يعاني من رهاب معين لشيء ما ، فقد يلتقط الطفل هذا الخوف ويطور استجابة رهابية تجاهه.
  • ينتشر الرهاب المحدد في الإناث أكثر من الذكور في كل من المراهقين والبالغين .
  • قد تكون أكثر عرضة للإصابة برهاب العناكب إذا كنت قد تعرضت لتجربة صدمة سابقة مع عنكبوت ، إذا كان لديك حالة صحية عقلية أخرى ، أو لديك تاريخ عائلي من الرهاب.

علاج رهاب العناكب

مثل أنواع الرهاب الأخرى ، يمكن علاج رهاب العناكب من خلال العلاج بالتعرض والعلاج السلوكي المعرفي (CBT). ففي العلاج السلوكي المعرفي ، يحاول المعالج استبدال الأفكار التلقائية السلبية المرتبطة بالعناكب بأفكار أكثر عقلانية. ومن خلال إعادة الصياغة المعرفية ، يمكن لأي شخص أن يتعلم تغيير الطريقة التي ينظر بها إلى العناكب حتى لا تعود تعتبرها مثيرة للاشمئزاز وخطيرة. في النهاية ، يمكن لأي شخص تغيير رد فعله الجسدي عند رؤية عنكبوت.

في بعض الأحيان ، يمكن وصف مضادات الاكتئاب أو الأدوية المضادة للقلق كوسيلة لمكافحة رهاب العناكب ، لذا اذا كنت تعاني من رهاب العناكب يجب ان تطلب المساعدة من متخصص.