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What is the mental impact of a dog bite?

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2020 | Injuries

New Jersey dog owners must keep their dog under control. It is their responsibility. This means preventing their dog from biting other people. Unfortunately, dog bite attacks still happen.

Today we will look beyond the physical injuries that occur during a bite attack. We instead look at the mental impact of these vicious incidents. After all, mental wounds take as much time and effort to tend to.

Dog bites and mental health

DogsBite.org looks at the potential impact a dog bite has on mental health. They list studies in which bite victims develop deep phobias. Investigations into bite victims have unveiled such traumatic responses as:

  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • The development of fears and phobias
  • The development of mutism

Victims experience their trauma in different ways. For example, one child who suffered a bite attack became selectively mute. This means the child no longer spoke aloud. This is a traumatic response seen more often in children than adults.

The root of psychological trauma

Psychological trauma shows dramatic signs in younger bite victims. This is because they are going through key stages of mental development at the time of the attack. Many studies focus on developmental disruptions that occur with formed trauma.

Even adults are not immune to a mental and emotional traumatic response. Many suffer from issues like worsened anxiety or depression. The formation of new phobias may also happen. This includes cynophobia, or a fear of dogs. It also includes agoraphobia, or a fear of going outside. In this case, the fear stems from the worry that the victim will run into another dog. Any one of these issues has the potential to be very traumatic.