Phobia of Police: Symptoms, Causes, Consequences and How to Deal With It

The fear of police without any realistic reason is called Capiophobia. The anxiety disorder is triggered when people have this phobia, see police, a police station, a cop car, or hear a police siren or something that showcases the existence of the armed force.

Around 10% of people in the United States possess a specific phobia, as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reported. The Phobia of police is common. People with this phobia are anxious about getting arrested or abused by police even though they do nothing against the law. 

Capiophobia can take place due to multiple causes. Also, there are symptoms that indicate an individual has Capiophobia. But there are self-help guides and treatments to deal with it. 

No worries! Today, we will cover the possible causes, symptoms, and effects of Capiophobia. Additionally, you will acquire knowledge on how to avert the fear by making the most use of the several established techniques.

Breaking Down Phobia of Police

When someone does something illegal, they are supposed to fear the police for some valid reason. If you drive too fast compared to what is allowed, you fear the police until any legal action is taken against you. Absolutely justified. 

But what happens in Capiophobia is that a person did nothing wrong. Or there is no real chance that a police officer even inquires about the person. But, the person has the irrational fear of getting arrested due to the mental disorder. 

When someone suffers in Capiophibia, they avoid the source of the fear. Here, everything is related to the police, even if the people who have Capiophobia haven’t committed any crime yet.  

Breaking Down Phobia of Police
Breaking Down Phobia of Police

What Are the Typical Symptoms of Capiophobia?

Research has been done on the possible symptoms of severe phobias. There are some common symptoms of specific phobia as well. If someone has Capiophobia, the noticeable symptoms are; 

Extreme anxiety

When someone fears the police, they are always in the mood to hide them from the group of armed forces. This ultimately brings anxiety, which becomes intense when someone has Carpophobia for a long time. 


High levels of anxiety often give rise to depression among people. When someone goes through the fear of getting arrested, it can cause anxiety, which turns into depression within a short time. 


Extreme fear is always the root cause of the phobia. When someone has intense fear, regardless of what, this weakens the person mentally and physically. In this case, stress builds up, not allowing people to perform their daily activities. 

Frequent dizziness 

Frequent dizziness can be the result of extreme anxiety. When our minds can’t handle the pressure of concern, it creates dizziness. Well, this symptom usually doesn’t come into light when someone is in the initial stage of Capiohobia. 

Panic Attack

As per the National Library of Medicine statement, specific phobias like Capiophia can cause panic attacks. Extreme fear of something causes stress and depression, resulting in a panic attack.

Heart Palpitations

Heart Palpitations take place due to Capiophobia, as someone who has the phobia goes through fear and anxiety. Besides, this can also be the cause of panic attacks when Capiophobia becomes extreme. 

Dry Mouth

Anxiety Center reports dry mount is one of the widespread symptoms when people are in anxiety or irrational fear. Moreover, if you have Capiophobia, when you experience the existence of police, there is a lack of saliva in your mouth. 

The Feeling of Danger

When someone has Capiophobia, the person is not supposed to come in contact with police in any need, even if something horrible happens to them. 

Therefore, it makes sense that the person possessed the feeling of danger and they have very little respect for the police regarding law enforcement. 

The fear of getting in trouble and not asking police to look after the issue makes them uncertain about security. Moreover, Capiophobia people think they are deprived of their legal rights.

What Can Cause Someone to Develop a Phobia of the Police?

Like any other type of Phobia, Capiophobia has some trigger points. The root cause of the phobia can vary based on the individual. Knowing the possible causes is vital to deal with the phobia with ease. 

Bad Experience 

According to the Mayo Clinic, the specific phobia occurs due to bad experiences of what people fear. A person can have the experience either from seeing or hearing. So, the bad experience or news about the police force is one of the key reasons why people can have Capiophobia. 

Even if the person with Capiophibia has not experienced the police charging them illegally, some past incidents can also trigger the feeling. In the United States, we have seen news where people claim the police have taken illegal action against them or misused their power. 

Besides, violent remarks are not uncommon in the United States, which set the stage for the tendency to fear the police. Some people think the police force is not reliable enough to save or protect them. Instead, they can take any action without caring about the laws as they have power.

In 2023, 873 unarmed individuals were killed by police in the United States, as stated in Mapping Police Violence. These types of stats can be the root of Capiophobia. 

What Can Cause Someone to Develop a Phobia of the Police
What Can Cause Someone to Develop a Phobia of the Police?

Genetic Factors 

Let’s say your parents or relatives have Capiophobia. Chances are you also have the same phobia due to genetic factors. There is ample research by the National Library of Medicine describing genetic factors’ contribution to Capiophibia. 

Environmental Factors 

This is co-related to genetic factors. When a person lives in an environment where most people have a fear of police officers, the person is supposed to have a phobia. In the United States, there were incidents where black citizens were treated brutally by the police. 

Now, if someone comes from that group of people, they might have the fear of getting arrested for no reason. Injustice, killings or brutality have a severe impact on our minds. Harvard Chan’s David R. Williams’ research is burning evidence. And this is how Carpophobia arises. 

Severe Effects Capiophobia

Capiophobia has a severe impact on the life of the person’s life who is suffering from it. Moreover, Capiophobia has effects on a person’s mental and physical health. Besides, it allows the sufferer to have limited reliability (or no) from the police. 

Poor Physical Health Condition

Capiophobia is not limited to the state of mind like any other phobia. Besides, it can have a severe impact on the human body. In line with the Cleveland Clinic, heart diseases, Parkinson’s disease, and degenerative brain disorders are the key consequences of Phobia, including fear of police.

Mental Health Disorder 

As Capiophobia is an anxiety disorder, sufferers’ mental health can be affected. Too much anxiety and depression can’t allow people to think freely and make simple decisions. When someone fears the police, they always want to hide themselves whenever they go outside. 

For this, chances are that Capiophobia can cause other social phobias to some extent. And when this happens, the person dealing with Capiophobia also does so with loneliness. Besides, panic attacks can be a leading consequence of Phobia of the police. 

Avoidance of Legal Support

For example, if someone fears the police a lot, he is not supposed to come in contact with the armed forces. As the person feels deprived of the legal right, he may not take action when something illegal happens to him. 

Based on PBS NewsHour, two-thirds of black Americans don’t trust police officers. And here, Capiophobia plays a leading role. 

People can’t just stop police interaction as justice will be denied then (we are not discussing ill motive cobs). But the fear of getting arrested and avoiding law enforcement gives the floor to the situation.

What Are Some of the Proven Ways to Deal With Capiophobia?

Changing their mindset towards a scenario or object helps people to get rid of Capiophobia. Some proven self-help guides and therapies often come in when dealing with the unrealistic fear of the police. 

Following the Self-Help Guides

Self-help guide perfectly works to avoid any phobia. When someone has  Capiophibia, the best thing they can do is to go through self-help guides. The self-help guide helps properly understand the phobia, considering everything related. 

Thinking Positively 

Our minds have the tendency to respond more to negative thoughts than positive ones. For example, when someone thinks more about negative things like police brutality or illegal killings, this ultimately causes Capiophobia. 

Instead, it is essential to take some time and find the realistic reason behind the irrational fear. It is not valid that something wrong happens with someone and will happen to everyone. Moreover, it is valid to look at the strong evidence that triggers fear in minds. 

As per the suggestion of NHS Inform, sharing the fears and going through a healthy lifestyle can play a prominent role when dealing with Capiophobia. When you talk and share about anxiety a lot, it is supposed to be reduced by a large margin. 

Implementing Relaxation Techniques

It is pretty evident to master relaxation techniques when the fear or something occurs. When someone has Capiophia, this can also help. Usually, the existence of police triggers fear in this case. And the best thing the sufferer can do here is to be relaxed.

Some of the relaxation techniques in coping with the fear of getting arrested are; 

  • Deep breathing. 
  • Systematic desensitization. 
  • Meditation. 
  • Vagal Nerve Stimulation.

Going Through Exposure Therapy

If the phobia becomes intense, exposure therapy can help. This particular therapy is all about changing responses to things that people fear. The exposure therapy will help people with Capiophobia by ensuring they interact more with police or something related to law enforcement officers.  

In this way, people can confront their fear as they go through the procedures for a long time. The most significant fact about exposure therapy is that it can be a permanent solution to Capiophobia. [Source

Taking Medicines

Yes, there are medicines that can help people to get rid of Capiophobia. But in this case, the suggestions of the health care professionals must be followed. According to the Nation Health Service, medication can be a short-term solution against Capiophobia. 

Some of the common medicines for Capiophobia prescribed by the physicians are; 

  • Beta-blockers. 
  • Benzodiazepines.
  • Antidepressants. 
  • Sedatives. 

Joining Support Group 

People dealing with Capiophobia can join a support group to learn more about the phobia. Besides, the support group allows people to master new techniques to avoid anxiety and depression for specific reasons. 

When people have a phobia, they often feel lonely. The support groups can also help people build a community and give scope for interaction with others facing the same problems.

How Common Is the Phobia of Police in Society?

Many people in the United States have a phobia of police, especially black Americans. However, the exact report of people with Carpophobia is yet to be published. People often share their experiences of Capiophobia on different online communities like Quora. 

Is There a Difference Between a Healthy Caution of the Police and an Irrational Phobia?

Yes! When someone does something that goes against the law or plans something illegal, the healthy caution of the police takes place. But, irrational phobia comes in when someone has a fear of getting arrested without any realistic reason, primarily based on bad experiences.  

On top of that, the healthy caution of the police doesn’t have that level of severe impact on the human body and mind compared to what it has of irrational phobia. Moreover, healthy caution of police occurs based on actual facts, but the irrational police phobia results from an emotional response. 

How Can Friends and Family Support Someone With a Phobia of the Police?

Friends and family can know the thought process of the person who has a phobia of the police. Capiophobia is a mental disorder, and the person with this phobia needs mental support from the surroundings. The involvement of friends and family is crucial in understanding what it’s like to live with Capiophobia.

And a good amount of research has been done that showcases that when someone shares their anxiety, it often reduces, and the person feels relaxed. Besides, friends and family can ensure the companion the affected person needs when dealing with loneliness due to police phobia. 

Friends and family should assist the Capiophobia-affected people by providing the source of responsible organizations or support groups. 

What’s the Importance of Promoting Dialogue and Understanding Between Those With a Phobia of the Police and Law Enforcement?

When people with a phobia of police and law enforcement interact, this works like exposure therapy. People who have an irrational fear of the police can then figure out the misconception they have about law enforcement officers. According to Police Chief Magazine, better understanding between the two groups prevents Capiophobia.

There are ample misconceptions about law enforcement, along with some facts. The smooth communication of those with a phobia of police and law enforcement can ensure a peaceful society, letting people show respect for the laws. And here, community leaders have a crucial role to play. 

Bottom Line: Phobia of Police

Being realistic is the best thing a person can do who has a phobia of the police. However, advanced treatments are required if the phobia becomes too extreme, which causes both mental and physical issues. 

Organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) are constantly working to help people address Capiophobia.