To understand the emotional trauma of a dog bite it is useful to turn to psychology and, especially, phobias. A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder that is typically grounded in an irrational fear of the subject of the phobia in question. Those who have arachnophobia are afraid of spiders; those who suffer from dental phobia are afraid of visiting the dentist and so on.
If you have suffered a dog bite, is it rational to feel extreme anxiety around or because of all dogs from that moment forward? The answer, of course, is no. However, that does not change the fact that a dog bite can forever change how the victim feels about all dogs, whether real or imagined.
Encounters with Dogs
To look at two ends of the spectrum: Let’s consider that a person has been bitten by a large dog such as a Doberman, which is a fairly large and potentially aggressive breed. The victim does not necessarily need to encounter another Doberman in order to experience emotional trauma. Even a small dog, such as a Pug, may cause feelings of anxiety and fear. While a Pug is practically incapable and highly unlikely to inflict the same level of injury, the dog bite has permanently changed how the victim perceives all canines regardless of size or temperament.
Another aspect of emotional trauma from a dog bite is the fear that dangerous dogs are waiting around every blind spot. This stems from the feeling of helplessness that a victim experiences when being attacked by a large, powerful animal. For many victims, the fear of being attacked again can lead to the development of additional phobias such as agoraphobia – the fear of being trapped or helpless.
PTSD & Flashbacks
The development of PTSD and flashbacks is not uncommon after dog bites. These conditions and symptoms can lead to dramatic changes in the victim’s behavior. The result is often depression, anxiety, reclusiveness; breakdown of personal relationships, and, in some cases, aggression. The amount of support that a victim needs to overcome emotional trauma can far outlast that needed to treat the physical injuries resulting from the dog bite.
It can take years for victims of dog bites to recover from emotional trauma if recovery is achievable at all. During that time, families may break down and the symptoms of emotional trauma can lead to loss of employment. Further mental health problems can also directly result from the psychological impact that a dog bite has on the victim.
If you have been the victim of a dog bite and recognize the symptoms of emotional trauma in your own experiences, you may wish to consult with a personal injury lawyer in Georgia. As a community-orientated practice, the Fry | Goehring is committed to supporting clients just like you with understanding and compassion.
Reach out to our offices today to discuss the details of your dog bite as part of a free consultation with a Georgia legal professional.