What is Arachnophobia? What Causes The Fear Of Spiders?

The fear of spiders, arachnophobia is equally a really common phobia, particularly to females. It is gotten from two Greek words ‘arachine’ meaning spiders and ‘phobia’ meaning fear, thus the name – arachnophobia, the fear of spiders. People often confuse or just call spiders insects but it is to be noted that spiders are not insects rather they are arachnids thus, the fear of spiders should not be confused with the fear of insects, entomophobia. One major difference is that spiders have eight legs and insects have only six legs.

Causes of Arachnophobia

The causes of arachnophobia are quite numerous, from the common causes of phobia to the not so common ones, arachnophobia sure has a long list. A few of the more important causes of arachnophobia includes the following;

Evolutionary adaptation – yes! Just like a cat’s instinct to chase a mouse and a mouse’s instinct to run at the sight of a cat without ever before being told that they are sworn enemies, predator, and prey, scientists believe the fear of spiders might have originated from this similar ideology thus our body is telling us to stir clear of spiders in the form of fear. The only question remains if this is so, why do we not all have arachnophobia?

Traumatic experience(s) – I remember the first time I attempted doing a backflip, my form was wrong and I landed so bad it gave me serious fears to attempt it a second time. Similarly, the fear of spiders may be instilled upon us if we have ever been bitten before by a spider or witnessed first hand how a friend or family member got bit by a spider, you don’t want to go through similar pain, poisonous or not, a spider bite hurts a whole lot. Think I’m lying? Ask Peter Parker – Spiderman lol.


Cultural beliefs – Some places in Africa believe spiders are extremely dangerous creatures, some even are making up scary tales about them and hard wiring these beliefs into children from birth can cause them to have arachnophobia at a very young age and die with it too. Funny enough, some other parts of Africa again actually eat spiders as a yummy delight, talk about massively overcoming the fear of spiders.

Symptoms of Arachnophobia

So we have known what causes the fear of spiders but how do you know if you have the fear of spider phobia? Well, patients having arachnophobia exhibit similar signs. The more common and easy to diagnose symptoms include;

  • increased heart rate
  • dizziness
  • screaming at the sight of a spider
  • trembling
  • sweating
  • panic attacks
  • running away from the scene

The symptoms of arachnophobia differ and ranges in intensity according to how afraid of spiders such person is.

How To Cure The Fear Of Spiders

Ok, so we know the causes and symptoms of arachnophobia but what about the cure? How do you cure arachnophobia? Unlike the fear of snakes phobia that won’t really haunt you cause you hardly see a snake on a day to day basis, Spiders are nearly impossible to avoid in our homes, so it is important that one tries to overcome arachnophobia or the fear of spiders rather than avoid it. You can’t run forever, so face your fear and own it!

Some of the common ways of overcoming this phobia include;

System Desensitization

This has been effective for many cases of phobia in a person. In the case of arachnophobia, the person is slowly made to rid of the phobia of spiders by gradually being exposed to images of spiders and learning to cope with it. I explained it under ‘stare your phobia in the eyes’ in my how to overcome phobia article. There is now a mobile app reviewed and approved the NHS of UK called Phobia Free which uses this method.


Medicine that induces relaxation along with anti-anxiety and anti-depressant drugs help to overcome the fear of spiders or rather control the phobia but must be used under professional dosage and cannot be continued for so long.

See also the cognitive behavioral therapy CBT

Self Therapy

Yes, you can cure yourself and rid of the fear of spiders right at the convenience of your chair right there by simply following some tips and tricks carefully and gradually. I compiled a few ways on how to overcome any type of phobia, a continuation of the ‘stare your phobia in the eyes’ given above.

Get up and start the spider hunt! you can do it! you can overcome your arachnophobia, good luck!

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