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Fear of spiders
Information on Arachnophobia
Arachnophobia is the term used to describe the intense fear of spiders. About half of women and ten percent of men suffer from arachnophobia. Those who suffer from arachnophobia often search for spiders upon entering a room. If they see one, they sometimes follow it with close scrutiny as to make sure it does not come anywhere near them. Others will enter a room and do all things possible in order to avoid spotting a spider. Sometimes the fear is caused by a split second of panic during exposure to the animal. This wires the brain to respond similarly to future stimuli. Arachnophobia is a cultural fear that has been passed down to us for centuries. Spiders were once believed to be the cause of the bubonic plague. Sometimes arachnophobia is so severe that even a picture of a spider can cause panic attacks complete with symptoms such as fast heartbeat, sweating, dry mouth and elevated stress and anxiety levels.
Gradual exposure therapy is very effective in dealing with and overcoming arachnophobia. However, virtual reality therapy allows patients to come face to face with these furry little creatures without the risk of harming the spider or of the spider biting the patient. Therapy is a slow process, but when promising, can have lasting effects. However, therapy always begins with the patient. He must first decide that he is ready and willing to overcome his fears. Medication can be a fast acting solution to arachnophobia, but tends to have serious side effects that add to the problems of the sufferer.
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