PTSD is a psychological response to a traumatic event. It can happen to anyone, even those who consider themselves to have been strong, capable individuals before the event happened. Reminders of the trauma usually trigger extreme levels of distress, and the continuation of symptoms can be confusing and depressing. PTSD can disable, and even wreck, the life of the sufferer and the lives of those close to them.


A person may experience a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Hypervigilance and strong startle reaction
  • Distressing recollections of the event, perhaps experienced as images, thoughts or perceptions
  • Feeling or acting as if the traumatic event is happening all over again
  • Strong feelings of anxiety or panic
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Diminished interest and involvement in life and social withdrawal
  • Difficulty getting off to sleep and/or early waking
  • Distressing dreams or nightmares
  • Irritability or anger
  • Difficulty remembering, or inability to remember, some aspects of what happened
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of hope that anything good or positive could happen in the future

Avoidance and escape behaviours are common strategies adopted by those trying to cope. Unfortunately, while these strategies usually bring temporary relief, they tend to maintain PTSD. Without treatment the course of PTSD for some people can be chronic.


Recovery can be a challenging process. Dr Neal takes a cognitive-behavioural approach to treatment, whilst supporting the client as they begin to reclaim their life. Dr Neal is also happy to meet with family or friends, who themselves often struggle to understand what has happened and how best to encourage recovery.