Even though most dogs make excellent companion animals, others are unpredictable or even downright dangerous. In a matter of seconds, a dog attack may leave you with broken bones, deep lacerations, nerve damage and other catastrophic injuries.
After these injuries heal, you may realize your mental state has not recovered. After all, dog attacks often cause victims to develop long-term psychological injuries that are exceedingly difficult to treat.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
It is not uncommon for bite victims to develop PTSD. According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD may happen to anyone who has either been through or witnessed a stressful event. If you have attack-associated PTSD, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Negative changes in your mood or thought processes
- Nightmares, flashbacks or unwanted memories
- Irritability or anger
- Increased anxiety
Acute stress disorder
If your PTSD symptoms go away after a few weeks, you may have acute stress disorder instead. While you may be thankful not to have PTSD, acute stress disorder may lead to a permanent increase in anxiety and depression.
When dogs attack, they often go for the faces or necks of victims. When trying to protect these sensitive areas, you may suffer defensive wounds to your arms and legs. Because your face, neck, arms and legs are visible, damage to these areas may cause you to develop a body-image disorder.
Body-image disorders interfere with the way you see yourself. That is, you may obsess over a perceived defect, such as a bite scar. Sadly, body-image disorders may lead to other psychological disorders, such as anorexia or self-mutilation.
Ultimately, to receive the expensive psychological care you need to manage your mental health, it may be necessary to pursue financial compensation from the dog’s owner or handler.