The reactions of arachnophobics are often irrational (though not all arachnophobics acknowledge this irrationality). It is one of the most common specific phobias, and some statistics show that 50% of women and 10% of men show symptoms. It may be an exaggerated form of an instinctive response that helped early humans to survive, or a cultural phenomenon that is most common in predominantly European societies.
The fear of spiders can be treated by any of the general techniques suggested for specific phobias. As with all phobias, the strength of the associations means the individual must not actively pursue the consequences, and outsiders should not in any way undermine and “play” with the phobia in the meantime.
People with arachnophobia tend to feel uneasy in any area they believe could harbor spiders or that has visible signs of their presence, such as webs. If arachnophobics see a spider, they may not enter the general vicinity until they have overcome the panic attack that is often associated with their phobia. Some people scream, cry, have trouble breathing, have excessive sweating or even heart trouble when they come in contact with an area near spiders or their webs. In some extreme cases, even a picture or a realistic drawing of a spider can also trigger fear.
Arachnophobia can be triggered by the mere thought of a spider or even by a picture of a spider in some cases. Some arachnophobics will, on entering a room, search it for a spider. If they find one they will monitor its progress very thoroughly. Others will do all in their power to distract themselves to avoid seeing the spider.