It’s a short list of things that consistently inspire fear among full-grown men. But spiders are absolutely and unequivocally on that list. The most feared group of species in the Animal Kingdom, spiders find themselves in the company of an elite group of horror-inducers, most of which are far more serious—like death. Why are people so scared of spiders?
One explanation for fear of spiders—or arachnophobia—is that it’s an evolutionary adaptation. Many spiders are poisonous, and having an aversion to them served people well over the eons. If we thought spiders were cute and cuddly, we would have let them crawl all over us, bite us, and possibly kill us. One shudders at the thought. So the thinking is that we are genetically programmed to be afraid of spiders.
As one who suffers from mild arachnophobia, I don’t know if “afraid” is the right word; for me, it’s more a feeling of profound disgust than crippling fear. There’s something about the way spiders look, about the way they move, that I find thoroughly disgusting. And the bigger, the scarier—if I woke up with a tarantula sitting on my chest, a heart attack would not be out of the question. (And yet I’m not the least bit squeamish about blood and guts, and never get scared during scary movies—there’s just something about spiders.)
If you’re a fellow arachnophobe, we’re in good company—Justin Timberlake, J.K. Rowling, and Selena Gomez also suffer from this affliction. In fact, between three and six percent of all people have Arachnophobia. But there’s hope: like any phobia, this one’s treatable. The most effective thing going is called systematic desensitization, which involves confronting spiders (or the thought of spiders) in a safe setting with a trained professional who attempts to break the pattern of physiological arousal and emotion that spiders cause. Another, more sure-fire cure for arachnophobia is to eliminate all the spiders in your home or business. Give us a call so there won’t be any creepy callers preventing you from being able to rest easy!