She said the Olympic athlete displayed “escalating levels of anxiety” through his life when she interviewed him this month. Vorster said she also spoke to members of Pistorius’ family, some of his friends and his agent. Pistorius’ defense said at the outset of its case that it would show his feelings of “vulnerability” and his disability contributed to him shooting Steenkamp. Pistorius is charged with premeditated murder and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted. Vorster’s testimony also dealt with what she said was Pistorius’ fear of crime and how, because he was a double amputee, he reacted to perceived threats in a different way to other people. She noted Pistorius’ mother, who died when he was a teenager, slept with a gun in her bed and also had a fear of being attacked in her home. Cross-examining Vorster at the start of the eighth week of the trial, prosecutor Nel asked if she was saying Pistorius had a mental illness and should undergo a 30-day period of observation, and if he was changing his defense to one of “diminished responsibility.” Nel also asked the psychiatrist if someone who was suffering from an anxiety order of the kind that she had diagnosed in Pistorius, and also had access to guns, would be a danger to society. Vorster said the person would, indeed, be a danger.
Source: Oscar Pistorius has anxiety disorder, defense psychiatrist says during murder trial – CBS News
With a panic attack, your heart rate slowly returns to normal. Another difference is that your heartbeat in atrial fibrillation is totally erratic. You could have two or three beats super fast, and two or three slower, and two or three fast your heart rate is bouncing all around, Day said. With a panic attack, your heart is going fast, but its totally regular. Stephen Sobel, MD , a San Diego psychiatrist who treats anxiety disorders and is the author of Successful Psychopharmacology: Evidence-Based Treatment Solutions for Achieving Remission said that people having a panic attack feel panic. They have a sense that the world doesnt seem real, or a fear that theyre going crazy. Generally, people with a heart arrhythmia dont have this emotional component, he said. RELATED: How to Navigate the Heart-Mind Connection Medical History Provides Clues Your medical history may offer hints as to whether you’re experiencing a panic attack or afib. Often panic attacks are precipitated by some anxiety or depression or another psychiatric difficulty.
Source: Heart Palpitations: Is It Afib or a Panic Attack? – Everyday Health
Vorster highlighted the impact of Pistorius double amputation at the pre-language stage of his development, saying without the ability to understand language, the boy would have experienced the amputation of his lower legs as a “traumatic assault. Vorster said Pistorius “appears to be a mistrustful and guarded person,” a tendency that went back to his mother who slept with a gun under her pillow. She said that the star sprinter displayed “escalating levels of anxiety” as he got older. The psychiatrist said under cross examination that Pistorius knew right from wrong, but his generalized anxiety disorder could have influenced his actions the night he shot Steenkamp because of his constant state of fear. Vorster testified that Pistorius’ physical vulnerability also meant that his first impulse when it comes to a fight or flight situation would almost always be to fight since it was physically difficult for him to flee. Pistorius was on his stumps when he shot Steenkamp. The prosecutor asked Vorster if a person who is suffering from a general anxiety disorder would be a danger to society if he had access to a gun, and Vorster replied, “Yes.” Vorster described Pistorius as a person acutely affected by losses during his life. Despite the surgeries to amputate his legs, Pistorius was brought up to believe he was normal, giving him little opportunity to find peace with his situation, Vorster said.
Read More: Oscar Pistorius’ Shrink Says Leg Amputations Gave Him Mental Disorder – ABC News