Dog bites are a common occurrence in the United States. In fact, according to estimates, nearly five million individuals suffer a dog bite every year. While many dog bites are minor, others cause life-altering injuries. Unfortunately, after physical wounds heal, a bite victim may have psychological scars.
Dog bites can be traumatic events. After all, when a dog attacks, it may growl, bark or snarl. Even worse, because dogs have sharp teeth, a bite victim may have little choice but to watch as the animal tears into his or her flesh. Accordingly, if a dog has bitten you, you must closely monitor your emotional health.
Signs of emotional trauma
Following a dog bite, individuals often experience fear, anger, anxiety, sadness and depression. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should consider psychological treatment:
- Sleeping difficulties
- Headaches, nausea, dizziness or chest pain
Post-traumatic stress disorder
While it is normal to go through some emotional trauma after a dog bite, you do not want to risk your mental health. Regrettably, following a traumatic event, some individuals develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Sharing many symptoms with other types of emotional trauma, this serious condition may interfere with your everyday life.
Immediately after a dog bite, it is essential to seek medical care for physical wounds. This is true even if the bite does not appear to be severe, as dog bite victims are prone to infection. If the bite negatively affects your mental health, a health care professional may recommend a variety of coping strategies. These range from meditation and exercise to behavioral reconditioning and medication.
Even if you are an animal lover, you must recognize the seriousness of dog bites. Specifically, an attack may cause you to sustain both physical and emotional injuries. Because your brain is as important as your body, your recovery strategy must address all aspects of your health.