Psychiatrist: Oscar Pistorius suffers from anxiety disorder

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Oscar Pistorius reviewing notes at his murder trial. (Getty Images)

A psychiatrist testified Monday at the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius that the track star suffers from an anxiety disorder that could at times lead him to erroneously believe that he is in danger.

Pistorius claims that he shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, because he thought she was an intruder. The defense is attempting to give greater heft to this argument by enlisting the evaluation of Pistorius by Dr. Meryl Vorster, a psychiatrist.

Vorster attributes Pistorius' anxiety to a troubled childhood and the amputation of his legs, which occurred when Pistorius was just 11 months old. 

"He was too young to understand why," Vorster told the court, according to Reuters. "His mother could not have comforted him because he was pre-language phase. It would been perceived as traumatic assault."

Furthermore, according to Vorster, Pistorius' mother abused alcohol and herself suffered from an anxiety disorder, apparently sleeping with a gun under her pillow due to her own fear of intruders.

According to CNN, she raised Pistorius and his brother "to see their external environment as threatening," Vorster said.

In cross-examining Vorster, the prosecution inquired as to whether Pistorius can distinguish right from wrong, to which Vorster replied that he could, according to CNN.

The prosecution is attempting to show that Pistorius and Steenkamp had been arguing prior to the shooting, and that Pistorius shot her on purpose.

If convicted, Pistorius faces life in prison.

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