If a dog, cat or another animal attacks you, your first concern is likely to be your physical health. After all, animal bites can leave you with serious physical injuries, ranging from deep cuts to life-threatening infections.
Following any animal attack, it is vitally important to seek emergency medical care, even if you think you have not suffered an injury. You should not forget about your psychological well-being, though. Here are some ways an animal attack may have some major psychological consequences.
Anxiety and depression
After any type of trauma, it is not uncommon to experience anxiety or depression. This is due to several factors. For example, you may have lifestyle or work limitations that stem from your injury. You may also experience deep sadness that a cute and furry animal turned on you.
If you are an animal lover, this fact may be increasingly bothersome. Furthermore, if you cannot pay medical and rehabilitation costs, you may have attack-related financial stress.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
If your post-attack depression or anxiety is particularly severe, you may have developed PTSD. With this mental health condition, you may experience flashbacks, nightmares or irrational fears.
While mental health professionals have a variety of tools to help individuals cope with PTSD, it may never go away completely. Consequently, you may have to take steps to manage the condition for the rest of your life.
Animal attacks regularly result in lacerations that require stitches, surgery or other medical procedures. When your wounds heal, you may develop scarring. Scars can spell trouble for a couple reasons. First, your scarred skin may be increasingly vulnerable to additional injury, such as sunburn or irritation.
More alarmingly, though, your scars may cause you to develop body-image issues. This is particularly true if your scars are in visible places, such as your face, neck, arms or legs.
Even though you may receive treatment for your body-image issues and other psychological injuries, your life may never return to normal after an animal attack. Fortunately, you may be able to pursue fair compensation from the animal’s owner to help you better manage your mental health.