Dr Oz did a segment on Overcoming Phobias & Fears and then brought on a lady who had severe Arachnophobia to help her with her fear of spiders. Dana said that nobody is even allowed to say the “S Word” (spider!) in her house because that alone causes a tightness in her chest and a shortness of breath. Doctor Oz brought back Dr Todd Farchione to help Dana with her extreme fear of spiders.
Dr Oz: Fear of Spiders: Arachnophobia
Dr Oz asked Dana how her fear of spiders inhibits her life. She said she cannot go places she normally would go and someone always has to go ahead of her to make sure she avoids spiders. The interesting thing is that she does not have a fear of other things and has actually done some activities that quite a few people would consider scary. She has jumped out of airplanes with no problem and she can even wrangle a snake out of the way if it is in your path. Both of these sound scarier to me than spiders!
Dr Oz: Exposure Therapy
Dr Oz said that Exposure Therapy is key according to Dr Todd Farchione. Dr Farchione said that 90% of people who go through Exposure Therapy for their fears or phobias are successful. Exposure Therapy is where you gradually confront what you are afraid of. As you start to learn new things about the object you are scared of, you undergo behavioral changes but also change how you think about the trigger of your phobia or fear.
Dr Oz: Overcoming Arachnophobia
The first step for Dana to overcome her Arachnophobia was to look at a small image of a spider. Dr Farchione told her that she might experience a strong physical reaction and that is fine if she does because you need to bring the fear out in order to teach it something different. Just the thought of seeing a photo of a spider made her an 8.5 or 9 on a 10 point scale of fear. She was shaking and felt like she could not breathe. She looked at the photo of the spider for a second and then turned away. Dr Farchione asked her what she think would have happened if she stayed and looked at it for longer. She said the fear would have grown bigger and bigger. Dr Todd Farchione said that many people think this, and at first it might have become a little worse, but over time the fear would have decreased. So Dana turned around to look at the image again and was able to look at it for much longer. She said her fear level became a 12 though. Dr Oz said that when he made his fear of heights into a 10, it dramatically dropped after that. Dr Farchione is going to continue to work with Dana on her Arachnophobia so that she can work up the Fear Ladder. Eventually Dana will look at more images of spiders, then fake replicas of spiders and the final goal will be to touch and hold a live spider!