• Liam Tracey

oVRcome and a fear of spiders

Updated: Aug 24

A fear of spiders is one of the most common phobias across the world, it is said to affect 40% of the population. So, what exactly is it about them that causes such distress, that makes arachnophobia such a known condition? First, let’s take a look at what the phobia is, then we’ll look into the symptoms, causes and how oVRcome can help you beat it.


What is Arachnophobia?


Arachnophobia, otherwise known as spider phobia, is the intense fear of spiders and other arachnids. Classified as a specific phobia, arachnophobia causes significant distress that can impact an individual's quality of life. When in contact with, or thinking about arachnids, individuals will likely feel fear and experience symptoms of anxiety almost immediately. It is this which sets apart the general unease or aversion to spiders, from those who suffer from true fear of spiders.


Symptoms


The most simple indication that you may be suffering from arachnophobia, you’ll find yourself going to extreme lengths to avoid interactions with spiders. This could mean not going near the place you last saw one. You might avoid going to places where spiders are usually found such as old, quiet spaces like garages and sheds, or even outdoor spaces like forests. It is also common to exaggerate your chances of seeing a spider. And when you actually come into contact with a spider web or spider, you will have an immediate fear or anxiety response - your body will go into panic mode, including raised heart rate, dizziness, trembling, sweating or chest pains.


Causes


If you suffer from Arachnophobia it means you have learned to associate spiders and spiderwebs with fear. This often starts when you're younger and commonly becomes less of a problem as you get older. It may have been an encounter with a spider when you were younger that gave you a fright that has meant that you developed a fear of them.


There are some who believe fears could be ingrained in us from our ancestors, where some types of spider bites were deadly. This evolutionary theory believes that our primal instincts have remained with us and we fear spiders as they can be poisonous and harm us.


Then there are the social theories, which suggest we fear spiders as our peers do or the people around us fear them. When you consider that in the media spiders are usually depicted as sinister or scary, this is reinforcing a social theory that they are worthy of fear, which can then become a full phobia.


What’s next?


oVRcome is here to support you if a fear of spiders is something you are battling with. Our approach to supporting individuals with phobias is to utilise virtual reality experiences as the exposures to the ‘thing’ which people fear. In the case of spiders, that might look like imagery of a spider crawling, or them moving closely towards us. All the while, these exposures are supported through targeted interactions with qualified professionals who understand the psychological premise of fears and phobias. It is based on years of research and utilising 21st century technology to deliver a treatment approach like no other. To get started, we even have online tests for specific phobias, such as a fear of spiders. So, why not try our free online test here, and receive a customised report with some actionable tips for your severity level? It is a great place to start!


What’s more, if you feel this article has resonated with you, that you are possibly arachnophobic, or know of someone who could benefit from support, perhaps our 7 Day Challenge is worth checking out? Available for a range of phobias, you can sign up and each day engage in content which has been designed to support you through your fear of spiders.

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