Hoplophobia or Fear of Guns: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Recovery

The term hoplophobia is used to describe an irrational reaction to weapons. Especially the term is used to describe the fear of guns. Retired american military officer Jeff Cooper coined the term ‘Hoplophobia’. Hoplophobia is not a recognized medical phobia, it is a political term. The term was constructed from the Greek word – hoplon, which means arm and Phobos, meaning fear.

Hoplophobia or Fear of Guns

Causes of Hoplophobia or Fear of Guns

The primary causes of hoplophobia or fear of guns are earlier traumatic incidents, genetics, learning from parents or siblings or relatives. Generally, a phobia is an extreme, overwhelming, irrational, and disabling fear of a situation, an activity, object, item or place.

Hoplophobia or fear of guns is an strangely complicated phobia which includes a collection of sub fears converge in patients with hoplophobia or fear of guns, plus a striking behavior. That person who is suffered from hoplophobia or fear of guns is afraid of the authority figures who are armed, and firearms which are outside the supervision of authority figures. If the sufferers were even close to a gun, they fear what others might do with a gun. They usually start to imagine various situations in their mind. Some people fear that having the gun would guide them physically to be proved as a perpetrator, or they will be attacked, being defenseless and shot with their own gun, crippled, killed etc… Various horrific fantasies always wander in the mind of the sufferers.

Symptoms of Hoplophobia or Fear of Guns

Generally, a person, who is suffering from hoplophobia or fear of guns, could experience usual phobic symptoms such as concern of dying, extreme sweating, breathlessness, dizziness, nausea, feeling sick, dry mouth, coronary heart palpitations, and inability to assume or speak clearly. Their other symptoms include a sense of detachment from actuality, instantly loss of temperament or a full blown nervousness attack which may also be clearly visible if the condition turns more severe. There are some behavioral disorders of hoplophobia or fear of guns:

  • Patients with hoplophobia or fear of guns imagine their worst nightmare, scariest neighbor, angriest employee or the most notorious student at their child’s high school are seen with a gun this weekend at a convention center near you. It happens all the time and they act as though there is nothing they can do about it.
  • The patient gets irritated by claims of freedom, lifestyle or privacy need to keep arms.
  • Afraid of the gun, the user of guns and even the lover of guns.
  • They may want gun control, want an absolute ban on the manufacture, sale, possession, and use of handguns and believe that only police can have the gun.

Tests to Diagnose Hoplophobia or Fear of Guns

To get a medical diagnosis of hoplophobia or fear of guns, one would need to speak to an experienced physician or counselor. There are also some online psychological tests to diagnosis hoplophobia. This kind of test can give a person a good opinion about his/her condition and advise whether or not one should take some kind of action. The test is made up of just several quick questions in multiple choice formats. You just have to trust your intuition. Thus you will find the answer to each immediately and trust what comes to you without over thinking.

Treatment for Hoplophobia or Fear of Guns

The first step to overcoming hoplophobia or fear of guns is to talk with your doctor or may seek help from a mental health specialist. These doctors will be able to provide essential support and determine the best method to help people to regain and bring back the control of life. Some of the common treatment options are neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), hypnotherapy, and energy psychology. Therapies using pictures of firearms to help recover the patient are typically the first step to winning over the hoplophobia or fear of guns gradually. Medications can also be advised to help a patient to conquer the phobia during treatment sessions. Whichever treatment option one chooses for himself, it is assured that they are on the way to live a healthy and normal life.

Risk Factors for Hoplophobia or Fear of Guns

The root cause of hoplophobia or fear of guns often becomes a traumatic incident. In some situations, the mind will generate the fear without any specific cause. One may resolve this issue by discovering the root problem and trading the negative thoughts with positive ones. The persons who find themselves at greatest risk:

  • Those who have a general pattern for anxiety and fear.
  • Who are jittery, edgy, sensitive, nervous.
  • One who are victims of adrenal insufficiency.

Complications of Hoplophobia or Fear of Guns

In general complicated phobias vary in severety to which they affect the victim socially, personally, vocationally and interpersonally. usually the result of complicated phobia of the affected person stretch to the humans around them. This develops to be more common when phobia is related to the gun than some other phobias. Hoplophobia or fear of guns is different from the most complicated of all phobias, because of its unique connection to political action. Because the patients act up their fears in the political situations, it shows a underappreciated and significant threat to the country.

Prognosis/Outlook for Hoplophobia or Fear of Guns

The hoplophobia or fear of guns outlook or prognosis is excellent if the patient sticks to the therapy and completes it successfully. To fight with hoplophobia or fear of guns one must understand the severity of the problem. But it is really pretty simple to do so. The sufferers can do something about it if the fear is having a noticeable impact on his/her way of life and affect his normal behavior. The processes are:

  • Simply think about all the firearms and check whether you feel woozy or not.
  • Whether the thinking trigger clammy hands and dry mouth.
  • Notice the heart beat rise and other physical symptoms likes sweating.

But drugs and medication for hoplophobia or fear of guns are not generally the best approach, but it is always necessary to follow a doctor’s advice when taking or stopping any medicine prescribed by him. The main cause of being hoplophobic is an unconscious mental condition that links firearms to strong feelings of fear and danger. Medicines can cover the awkward feelings for a while, but never break the mental patterns as the core of the problem is not being solved. As there is no drug especially made for hoplophobia and along with the possible undetermined side effects, it is difficult to take a prescription as the answer. Counseling, meditation can be good options to overcome the fear.

Lifestyle Changes for Hoplophobia or Fear of Guns

There are no specific lifestyle changes recommended for hoplophobia or fear of guns except to have a positive attitude to change your life, get out of fear and show positivity for the therapy which you are attending and trust the treatment.

The classic symptoms of hoplophobia or fear of guns are defined by author and firearms instructor Colonel Jeff Cooper as an obsessive, unreasoning compulsive fear of fire weapons which is usually guided by an irrational impression that those weapons possess consciousness or a will for bad evil, other than from the will of their owner.

The hoplophobia or fear of guns may cause sweating, discomfort, faintness, rapid pulse, nausea, sleeplessness, nondescript fears and more just at the thought of guns. The presence of working firearms even causes a panic attack to the patients. The fear leads to the change of lifestyle of them and makes them unsocial. Performing exercise or working out on daily basis is a good lifestyle change and can help in reducing the symptoms of hoplophobia or fear of guns.

Coping with Hoplophobia or Fear of Guns

If one wants to cope with hoplophobia or fear of guns and overcome a fear, he/she must learn to face the fear. Normally, a person with hoplophobia is inspired to go through some therapies that cope with some gun training. At the beginning, therapies that use some slides and footage of guns and a few other firearms are generally recommended. These are literally regarded as the best possible way to overcome the worry for firearms and the possibility of success is quite high. However, if therapies won’t work well alone, medications will then be suggested as well. But the available drugs can cause a lot of side effects. That is why cautionary measures are important.

Recovery Period/Healing Time for Hoplophobia or Fear of Guns

The hoplophobia can be cured fully. Generally, the recovery period depends on the mode of treatment and specialist doctors should be the one who can give you the information about the approximate recovery time. Consult to the doctor for the recovery time and for further questions related to hoplophobia or fear of guns.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 26, 2017

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