Provided via Julie Elman

3. Spiders

Marisa Fernandez / Senior Writer

A fear of spiders consumes 30.5 percent of the U.S. according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, but Howell said such fears can sometimes stem from irrational thoughts.

When analyzing a fear, Howell said mental health professionals assess how a fear is actually affecting someone’s life.

For example, the chance of encountering a spider varies. Constantly fearing if a spider is around will affect one’s daily life.

“I’m a pretty calm, reserved person, but not around spiders,” Madison, who listed spiders as her biggest fear, said. “If I see one, I handle it as best as I can by myself or help from others.”

Percent of OU students with this fear: 22.4%

Foltz’s fear of spiders always returns to a memory she has of the old house she lives in in her hometown of Greenfield.

The freshman studying biochemistry remembers, at eight years old, walking down the rickety steps of her basement, pulling the string to turn on a light bulb and a spider “the size of a baseball” dangling in her face.

"Every time I think of spiders, that image comes to mind,” she said. “Another time I woke up, and a spider was in my face. It’s like they’re out to get me."

Because spiders are so common, those who run into the eight-legged creature are faced with the decision of trapping it or running away.

“It’s basic fight or flight,” Howell said. "Your body starts to react. Your heart might start pounding, you’re breathing more heavily and your body is intaking more oxygen to repair you.”

The physiological component to fear is sometimes overlooked when compared to the psychological part, Howell said. People sometimes forget about the physical reactions, and then it makes it easy for people to stigmatize a fear.

Development by: Seth Archer / Digital Managing Editor

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