What psychological injuries do dog attacks cause children?
If you have a son or daughter, you undoubtedly exercise additional caution when your family is around unfamiliar dogs. After all, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than half of the roughly 800,000 bite victims each year are children. Still, even if you are careful, dogs can be unpredictable and dangerous.
Recovering from physical wounds may require surgery, rehabilitation and time. Regrettably, the psychological injuries your child suffers in a dog attack may never go away completely.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
While veterans returning from war often have post-traumatic stress disorder, the condition can happen to anyone who has gone through or witnessed a stressful event. If your child has PTSD, he or she may have recurring nightmares or flashbacks. PTSD can cause a child to develop behavioral issues, anxiety and depression.
Because of their small stature, child bite victims are vulnerable to injuries on their faces, arms and legs. If injuries cause scarring or deformities, your son or daughter may experience body-image issues. These may include body dysmorphia, disordered eating or even self-mutilation.
Changes in personality
It is not uncommon for young bite victims to undergo drastic changes in personality. If your child was bubbly and happy before the attack, he or she may withdraw or have emotional outbursts after it. Unfortunately, if your child already had personality issues, a dog bite also may make them worse.
As a concerned and caring parent, you simply cannot ignore your child’s emotional injuries after a dog attack. Ultimately, financial compensation may be available to help you pay for psychologists, counselors, doctors and other mental health professionals.