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Arachnophobia Treatments: Getting Rid of Your Fear of Spiders for Good

You should have heard of the classic phrases "Conquer your fear" and "It is easier said than done" as these two repeatedly collide against each other. Conquering a fear is supposed to be the most logical thing for a person to do, but it become too difficult when the fear itself is illogical. That's the case of phobias. While it is human nature to be afraid of things that can compromise his or her life, phobia is something that transcends even deeper than eminent danger. For example, a person who is suffering from Arachnophobia does not only feel anxious and uneasy at the sight of actual spiders, rather, mere images or thoughts are sufficient to bring about excessive panic reactions from these individuals. They will refuse to go into places that might harbor spiders like meadows, grasslands, parks, etc. In most cases, phobias affect the overall quality of an individual's life. Arachnophobia, being the most common of all phobias is affecting millions of individuals as of the writing of this article.

Humiliation is very common amongst those who suffer from Arachnophobia. Severe cases recorded revealed that even Spiderman can become a cause of fear amongst the Arachnophobics. This illogical fear towards something is not apparently not dangerous cause tremendous social issues for the sufferers to deal with. They would often become hysterical once they come across spiders even if they are in very populated places, drawing attention to them and to their disorder, causing further psychological damages. In some cases, arachnophobia has caused deaths amongst drivers who lost control and panicked upon the sight of a spider which they are driving. Cases like these lead to a single solution, and that is, to treat Arachnophobia as fast as possible.

Types of Treatments So Far

1. Hypnotherapy

While the use of hypnosis in phobia treatment is still not very well founded to date, a lot of patients who have undergone hypnotherapy have actually proven that this type of treatment does work. Through Neuro linguistic Programming or conditioning the sub consciousness of an individual, the therapist will be able to suggest thoughts that can change a person's point of view towards certain things. For example, drug and alcohol addiction are said to be easier to treat if regression is applied. Since the addiction has already corrupted the logical thinking capacity of a person, the best way to help the person make sense of the reason why the addiction needs to be gotten over is to tap the sub consciousness. In the same way with phobias, those who patronize hypnosis to treat phobias believe that the best way to communicate to a person and convince him or her that the fear is rather illogical is to talk to him or her through his or her sub consciousness.

The main goal of Hypnotherapy is to help the sufferer look at spiders in a different light; to make them see that majority of the spiders are harmless and that they are not likely to be hurt by just some random spiders. We can look at phobia as a ready-made script encrypted in our brains and not matter how much effort a person puts forth, the brain will simply re-load the script and proceed into thinking that the fear is indeed apparent. Hypnosis is like "re-programming" or "re-writing" this script. Now, whether hypnosis is indeed real or not, many people still thinks that there is a clear logic behind this procedure. The only thing left to be answered by hypnosis advocates lies on the process by which the sub consciousness is tapped.

2. Actual Exposure Treatment

Although is method is rarely used, Actual Exposure Treatment is actually the most effective method to treat Arachnophobia. However, the main problem with this method is that it cannot be used on people who have extreme Arachnophobia because it involves the actual exposure of the patient to his or her object of fear. In the case of Arachnophobia, the patient is made to deal with actual spiders, of course the intensity and gravity of the exposure increases gradually. They start with long distance encounter until they would reach a point when patients are really made to hold and touch the spiders. This is very effective because it directly rebuts the notion of the brain that the spiders are supposed to be fearsome. If the patient would have a controlled encounter with the spider, he or she will soon figure out that the fear is indeed illogical. Of course, this can't be done without a psychiatric and medical expert around. Every time the patient successfully completes a specific stage in the treatment, the psychiatrist and the physician has to make certain that the experience sinks into the consciousness of the patient.

However, the problem with this method is that many patients end up quitting the treatment before it is completed because of their extreme disgust for actual spiders which are used in the therapy.

3. Virtual Exposure Treatment

Virtual exposure treatment works under the assumption that the previously mentioned treatment procedure is effective and the only hindrance why too few people are able to avail of this treatment is because it uses actual spiders in the therapy. Virtual exposure seeks to replace the actual spiders with computer graphics, pictures, sounds and other objects that closely resembles a spider, but it is not the actual spider per se. But doing so, the Arachnophobic is more cooperative of the procedure until such a time when he or she finally gets to relate everything in the therapy to his or her fear on spiders. Of course, this type of treatment still requires an expert around or else everything done during its course might just become a waste.

Recent studies revealed that Virtual exposure treatment is more effective than its counterpart (actual exposure); however, no data has been made whether it is also better than hypnosis. To date, hypnosis is still the most popular Arachnophobia treatment method. In fact, many hypnosis clinics capitalize on Arachnophobics because there's just so many of them.
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