Emotional and social injuries require treatment from a mental health practitioner such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.
- A psychologist is trained to provide therapy and usually is the best choice for a dog bite victim.
- A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who may provide therapy or medical solutions for a psychological problem. Medical solutions can include prescription drugs and surgery, for which reason they usually are not appropriate in a dog bite case.
Some victims, their friends or families believe that psychological and emotional problems do not require treatment. These people feel that a victim should “tough it out” or simply “ignore it.” It is true that inner strength can overcome many of the difficult emotions we might encounter in the ordinary course of life. However, a dog attack can result in devastating psychological and social injuries that a victim should not endure without professional guidance. Therefore do not hesitate to visit a mental health practitioner at least once for an initial evaluation.
The cost of such services is usually covered by insurance. Be sure to get your insurance agent’s advice about whom to see and how much treatment is covered. In the section entitled Legal Rights, you will see that the owner of the dog frequently has to pay for all necessary expenses including mental health treatment (among other things).