Protection is something that we all value and want as members of society. There are many different ways to protect yourself against any dangers you may face. Many believe that our first line of defense should be our law enforcement system. They have been set in place to provide security for our communities. For those who rely solely on law enforcement, it may be due to an exaggerated fear of firearms called Hoplophobia.

Symptoms of Hoplophobia:

  • Sweating
  • Faintness
  • Discomfort
  • Rapid pulse
  • Nausea
  • Sleeplessness
  • Panic attack

Common Facts About Hoplophobia

Hoplophobia stems from the Greek term, “hoplites,” which means weapon. People who suffer from this fear are afraid not only to be around firearms, but of the actual damage they can cause. They are perceived as extremely destructive and can harm lives. A firearms instructor, Colonel Jeff Cooper, coined the phrase in the early 1960s to describe the actual suffering with this phobia. Specifically, Colonel Cooper described this phobia as a “mental disturbance characterized by irrational aversion to weapons.” Cooper stated that people who suffer from the fear of firearms stems from the manifestation that the weapons have a will of their own, apart from the user.

Hoplophobia has sometimes been unfairly used to describe gun control advocates. This of course, is an extreme statement and politically-based. Hoplophobia is an actual phobia that plagues many people in society who have no ties to political issues and simply fear weapons and the danger they can cause. This fear not only involves being afraid of firearms, but weapons in general. This would include knives, guns and anything that has the potential to cause bodily harm. There are many triggers to this phobia, mainly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Whatever the reason for this phobia, there is help.

Treatment of Hoplophobia

The first step in overcoming Hoplophobia is to speak with your doctor for referral to a mental health specialist. This specialist will be able to provide support and determine the best method to help you recover and regain control of your life. Some common treatment options include hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and energy psychology. Therapies using pictures of firearms to help desensitize the patient is typically a first step to conquer the phobia gradually. Medications can also be administered to help a patient over come phobia during therapy sessions. Whichever treatment option you choose, know that you are on your way to living a healthy, normal life.

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