Merryll Vorster testified Monday that events during Pistorius’ life, including the amputation of his lower legs as a baby and his late mother’s habit of sleeping with a gun under her pillow, contributed to his “increasing stress.” Pistorius’ defense said it would show his feelings of “vulnerability” contributed to him shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by mistake last year fearing she was an intruder hiding in a toilet cubicle in his home. Prosecutors say Pistorius killed Steenkamp intentionally after an argument. The Olympian is charged with premeditated murder. Vorster said she interviewed Pistorius and some of his family members and friends. Also on HuffPost: Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day.. Facebook
Read More: Psychiatrist: Oscar Pistorius Has ‘Anxiety Disorder’
Merryll Vorster testified for the defense and said that Pistorius has general anxiety disorder, a psychiatric condition that could make the athlete more likely to fight a threatening situation than flee it. Get the Latest News on the Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial But experts say Pistorius will have to undergo extensive testing to be diagnosed with the condition. Youre looking for things that would supercharge that nervous system and leave it more vulnerable, said George Everly, associate professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. You can have chronic exposure or traumatic event — either one works. Everly said some people with the disorder have a genetic history or have experienced traumatic events that make them hyper-sensitive to perceived threats. In severe cases, people can feel so afraid that they want to protect themselves in seemingly overzealous ways, he said, from installing extra security alarms to amassing weapons. Think of a lightning bolt going through electric currents [of the brain], he said. The result is a sensitization you get a sense of a person walking around, theyre hyper-sensitive to everything.
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Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment | Psych Central
Most people who try psychotherapy with a therapist who has experience in treating social anxiety disorder will find relief from their symptoms. Medications for Social Anxiety The primary class of drugs used to treat social anxiety are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This class of drugs was first developed to treat depression and so are often referred to as antidepressants. Since then, however, they have been found to be effective in the treatment of a wider range of disorders. Common SSRIs include Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Prozac (fluoxetine), and Luvox (fluvoxamine). Another type of antidepressant called Effexor (venlafaxine) may also be prescribed to help with the symptoms of social phobia. These kinds of medications generally take 6 to 8 weeks in order to start feeling the full therapeutic effects of them.
Read More: Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment | Psych Central