Oscar Sickness fear has gripped South Africa as worried callers speak of fearing gun rampages by anxious relations
Oscar Sickness fear has gripped South Africa as worried callers speak of fearing gun rampages by anxious relationsGetty

A charity in South Africa said it has been flooded with calls from people worried about potential shooting rampages by friends and relatives or, as it is now being referred to locally, Oscar sickness.

Oscar Pistorius, currently on trial for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, is allegedly suffering from a condition known as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Since the fallen track star's condition has been made public, a link has been planted in some people's minds of a causal link to that of gun violence.

It's an unfortunate one because statistically, people with mental health problems are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators.

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group issued an appeal for calm after getting "hundreds of calls" about 'Oscar sickness.' Most wanted to know if the condition caused "unpredictable, unstable and violent" behaviour in sufferers.

Group director Casey Chambers said: "Many people have become nervous about telling others that they have GAD in case people also to start to think that they are dangerous or violent."

According to Timeslive, GAD rates are running at just over 8 percent among South Africans.

Pistorius is currently undergoing tests at a mental health facility in Pretoria after the court ruled it must be established whether the condition played a role in him shooting dead his model girlfriend.

A consequence of the high-profile case has been a rise in stigma about GAD, which the Oscar sickness nickname will do little to dispel.

Chambers said: "Many people have become nervous about telling others that they have GAD in case people start to think that they are dangerous or violent.

"Anxiety is an introspective issue and sufferers of GAD are highly unlikely to be dangerous to others."

Pistorius denies premeditated murder and claims he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder inside his luxury home on the outskirts of Pretoria. The prosecution alleges he killed her following an argument.

Pistorius also faces charges of illegally firing a gun in public and of possessing ammunition, both of which he denies.

The trial continues.