Johannesburg - A psychiatrist's suggestion that Oscar Pistorius had generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) at the time of shooting his girlfriend has sparked panic amidst the disorder's sufferers, the Sunday Times reported.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group's director Cassey Chambers told the newspaper that it had received “hundreds of calls” from people who were concerned that having the disorder could lead to “unpredictable, unstable and violent” behaviour.
“We have had people asking if their loved ones with GAD need to be hospitalised immediately.”
Chambers said that the chance of sufferers of the disorder turning violent were slim.
“Anxiety is an introspective issue and sufferers of GAD are highly unlikely to be dangerous to others,” she said.
This week, Pistorius, who has been charged with murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, began a 30-day mental evaluation at the Weskoppies psychiatric hospital in Pretoria.
Pistorius, a Paralympian, was admitted as a day patient by the hospital following an order by Judge Thokozile Masipa in the High Court in Pretoria.
The ruling came after a defence expert witness testified that the 27-year-old, who has admitted to shooting Steenkamp, suffers from generalised anxiety disorder.
Masipa said the evaluation would determine “whether he was capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act or acting in accordance with appreciation of the wrongfulness of his act”.
Pistorius shot dead Steenkamp through the locked door of his toilet in his Pretoria home on Valentine's Day last year.
He has denied guilt, saying he thought she was an intruder about to open the door and attack him.
The State contends he shot her during an argument.
He is also charged with three contraventions of the Firearms Control Act.
The case has been postponed until June 30. - Sapa