Many people are familiar with the devastating physical effects of dog bites but there is a debilitating emotional effect that is just as harmful. Understandably, victims of dog attacks heal from the physical damage of the attack without addressing any of the mental damage they accrued. There are a variety of ways that emotional trauma manifests in victims.
Negative Body Image
Many victims have scarring on their face, hands, or legs after a dog attack. Since these parts of the body are highly visible, victims are conscious of the clothes they wear and the events they attend. For children, this can lead to bullying on the playground and low engagement in the classroom. For adults, the lack of confidence affects how they perform at work or socialize with friends.
Fear of Leaving Home
After being attacked by a dog outside, some victims may be hesitant to go outside again. This may affect their quality of life since they cannot meet up with friends, go grocery shopping, or attend work without encountering severe anxiety and panic at the thought of coming into contact with a dog.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs after an individual experiences a terrifying event and cannot recover. Sometimes PTSD can last for months after the traumatic event. It is especially common in children who experienced a dog bite.
Victims often have difficulties navigating the side effects and fears following a dog attack. Relying on family members and focusing on your recovery is the best thing victims can do to take steps toward developing a new normal.