Most people grow up thinking that dogs are humankind’s best friend. While that’s true in a lot of ways, these animals are still capable of inflicting harm. Dog bites come with obvious physical effects ranging from penetration wounds to the need for stitches, but they can also cause emotional and physical trauma. This is what many suffer after a furry companion decides to take out a chunk of flesh.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Any form of trauma can result in post-traumatic stress disorder, better known as PTSD. The more severe the trauma, the more likely it is for a person to experience the wide-ranging symptoms that come with this disorder.
Terrible dog bites and attacks are likely to trigger at least mild PTSD. The victim may relive the event, experience sleep disturbances, and have negative changes in their mood and thinking. Anxiety and depression are also common symptoms. Scars left behind from the incident can continue to trigger a person’s PTSD, making it difficult to overcome without therapeutic intervention.
Cynophobia is the fear of dogs, and it makes sense that someone who hasn’t grown up around these animals would develop this phobia. Their view of dogs changes entirely to one that causes extreme anxiety to the point of panic attacks, nausea, and trembling. Many people living with phobias often alter their lifestyle to avoid their fears.
If the event took place outside, a person may develop the phobia of large open spaces. This places them in fear of leaving their home, which is called Agoraphobia. This often happens when someone is afraid that they will encounter another aggressive dog in the outside world.
Body Image Issues
When a dog attack is incredibly severe, it leaves lasting physical damage that can require plastic surgery to heal. Scarring and physical changes in appearance often leave people struggling with their body image.
People may become self-conscious, feeling as though they are no longer attractive. This can interfere in their ability to form or maintain romantic relationships as well as non-romantic ones. Children, who are more susceptible to head injuries due to their height, can have long-lasting psychological trauma from severe physical damage.
Making sense of a traumatic event is tough enough for adults, but children have an even harder time since their minds are not fully developed. Their sense of security is shattered, they experience mental anguish as they try to rationalize what happened, and they are at higher risk for developing any of the conditions above.
What to Do
After being attacked by a dog, it’s vital that you find legal representation familiar with these types of cases. Hiring a dog bite attorney can help you pursue legal action against the owner or owners, allowing you to seek the compensation you deserve for both your physical and emotional injuries. Attorneys can also utilize investigators, refer you to medical professionals, and help you find a therapist that works for you. Don’t hesitate to call and discuss your options in making a claim.