3 ½ years ago, Shrien Dewani and his young wife Anni made international headlines when the couple were allegedly hijacked on the outskirts of Cape Town, while on honeymoon Moana Movies. Anni was shot and killed, and what followed was a series of events which saw Dewani leaving the country within days of his wife’s murder. You can read the full details of the Dewani case here.
So why are we interested in this story at Hello Doctor? Well, since Dewani left South Africa for his native England, he’s been fighting his extradition back here on the basis that he’s suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Both of these are serious mental health conditions which could result in him not taking stand, if he’s declared unfit to stand trial.
So what is PTSD? If a person experiences or witnesses an extremely traumatic event, for example a murder, car crash or natural disaster, there’s a chance that they’ll develop PTSD as a result. It’s a severe anxiety disorder, and in almost all cases, people who have PTSD have unwanted flashbacks and relive the experience over and over again. As a coping mechanism, it also causes people to avoid anything that’s connected with the event. For example, if they were involved in a serious car crash, they might avoid driving or being a passenger in the car. It can also make ordinary daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating or concentrating much harder to do.
In short, it’s a very serious condition, and in Dewani’s case, a lot of processes need to happen before he stands trial, if he ever does.