Psychiatrists make new discovery

Photo illustration by Joel McCarthy.

Gun rights in America bring new disorders to light

By Aidan Mouellic, Contributor

The recent mass shootings in the United States have had media pundits questioning the role that mental disorders played in all the shootings. Psychiatrists have long doubted the association between violence and mental illness and all agree that mentally ill patients are a safe bunch to be around. However, in an ironic twist, the publishers of the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), now in its 12th edition, have added a new gun violence-related disorder.

Simply called “delusional gun hero anxiety disorder,” this new disorder has nothing to do with the people who commit heinous mass shootings, but rather focuses on the people who stockpile firearms as a means of protecting themselves and those around them, in hopes of being a hero in a mass-shooting scenario. One of the doctors who had a role in developing the criteria for this new mental disorder, Dr. Eli Hirscher, says that “This disorder falls on the anxiety disorder spectrum because one of the main symptoms is a constant fear that you may be in a situation where you need a gun and don’t have one…”

Many have not responded well to Dr. Hirscher’s addition to the DSM, saying that he is merely putting a label on perfectly normal behaviour. “Having a single firearm for protection at home and never really thinking about it is not enough to qualify for a diagnosis. For a diagnosis to be made, a person should have to meet several different criteria.” The criteria to be listed in the new DSM-12 for gun paranoia disorder include things such as a constant desire to be a hero in violent situations, anxiety when separated from firearms, hoarding of firearms, and a constant fear that someone is out to take away your prized firearms.

Dr. Hirscher has witnessed a similar symptom in many of his patients, the symptom being a “burning desire to have a gun not just for personal protection but to fulfill a fantasy of being a civilian hero and saving many lives in a mass shooting type of scenario.”

He goes on to explain that since this is extremely unlikely to happen, that these private citizens who carry firearms with them everywhere are left with feeling of low self-esteem since their unhealthy fantasies fail to materialize.

Some of Dr. Hirscher’s patients have had their work lives disrupted by their disorder. One man who worked for an investment firm was so afraid of not being ready in case of an office shooting, he started wearing a bulletproof vest with two firearms attached to it beneath his suit. The worker thought that this was a smart thing to do, except he took his suit jacket off one day and forgot to put it back on. A new employee saw a man walking to the water cooler wearing a bulletproof vest with guns strapped to it and thought it was a mass shooter, the new employee shot his coworker.