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What are triggers and how do I know if I have one?

169 Answers
Last Updated: 03/16/2022 at 1:29am
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Johanna Liasides, MSc


I work with youth and young adults to help them improve depressive symptoms and self-esteem as well as effectively address family, relationship and peer conflicts.

Top Rated Answers
February 9th, 2018 2:30pm
Triggers are something that causes an emotional reaction, usually a more sever reaction that normal. What triggers you have will tell alot about what you could be dealing with.
February 15th, 2018 6:34pm
A trigger is an "event" that can bring back bad memories, which usually result in stress, anxiety, or even panic attacks. For example, if you or someone you knew was in a really bad car accident, and it traumatized you, then seeing a car accident (real or on TV) or talking about car accidents with another person could be a trigger.
February 24th, 2018 1:22am
Triggers are something that makes you feel very uncomfortable and can possibly bring back some memories of a traumatic experience or time in your life. They can be just about anything, and are completely normal.
March 15th, 2018 4:00pm
Triggers are things that happen or things we experience that usually result in an emotional or stressful reaction. For example, someone who has an eating disorder may be triggered by a conversation based around foods. It relates to what they are struggling with and maybe reminds them of a bad experience or reawaken their anxiety or fear.
March 23rd, 2018 6:36pm
Triggers are something that lead you to feel emotional distress. I think everyone has triggers, you just don’t always tend to notice them. Some people are triggered about particular topics of conversation. Some triggers are situations. Try and think about what often makes you feel the emotions you feel, and consider that as a possible trigger.
March 24th, 2018 11:37am
Triggers are objects, places ,people -who take you back into a particular memory which, therefore leads to a particular kind of reaction .Usually these reactions are anxiety and panic. For example, if seeing any one particular object- perhaps a ball-gives you fright makes you really scared and panicky- that is what triggers your panic attacks.
April 7th, 2018 10:18am
Triggers are things that trigger you to do something. A trigger could be someone crying, it could trigger you to cry.
May 6th, 2018 5:44am
Trigger is sudden physical and emotional response to some situation. Trigger is a great tool to understand your past where this trigger was created. Best method to deal with it is to use it to track down the origin of emotion. Work with the trigger and you can release yourself from lots of pain. =)
May 9th, 2018 4:27am
Triggers are every day events that can affect our moods drastically. for some, struggling with social anxiety, a trigger can be a large crowd. for others struggling with depression, sad movies may be a trigger. You can determine if or what your triggers are by keeping track of your mood, and monitoring what changes your mood.
May 13th, 2018 11:02am
Triggers are certain words or things that can remind us of a trauma or bad expirience from our past and can make us experiment negative emotions. You'll know if you have one by paying atenttion to what things make you feel sad/anxious, there might be something that start this. Hope this make sense, good luck.
May 31st, 2018 8:47pm
a trigger is when something happens and it opens someone's memory to a tragic incident or a bad thing that it could hurt them emotionally or physically even, you would know if you have one when something happens and it makes you feel upset or remember something bad and you cant control it unless you talk to someone or get help. that is the best way.
June 27th, 2018 11:01pm
Triggers are events which remind you of some past experience and make you feel the same emotions all over can identify it when something or someone or some situations makes u relive an old situation.or extract a similar response from u out of sudden (even unintentionally ).
July 1st, 2018 8:31pm
Triggers are things that cause a reaction linked to past trauma. It makes people relive strong difficult feelings about unresolve trauma events. For instance, if you have a phobia of spiders, seeing one while you're surfing on internet can be triggering and make you feel panic. If some subjects reflect on personal unresolved issues, then maybe that subject is a trigger for you.
July 3rd, 2018 5:10pm
A trigger could be anything from something in your environment (such as an object, or a certain place), to something someone says (specific phrases, words), to internal thoughts (anxious thoughts, self loathing are commonly triggers). Triggers are called triggers because they trigger emotional reactions (positive or negative).
July 4th, 2018 5:37pm
Triggers differ depending on the person. A trigger is something that you have a reaction so to speak, but it's something that you have to pay attention for to know what it is. For example, if you have anxiety and it gets worse whenever they have to make or answer a phone call, then in that situation, using the phone would be a trigger for their anxiety. It's like having allergies or an illness such as Asthma. A trigger is something that exacerbates something else (such as an illness for example). I hope this helps
July 15th, 2018 7:03am
Triggers can come and go. They are usually connected to the senses. A specific sound, smell, sight or touch may trigger an emotion.
July 22nd, 2018 5:09pm
If you experience extreme (especially of something read, seen, or heard) distress, typically as a result of arousing feelings or memories associated with a particular traumatic experience, that's being triggered.
August 2nd, 2018 1:48pm
Triggers are things that activate your memory and bring back the sensation of dread due to trauma. You can spot one if you are feeling uneasy and its all in your mind. The event is not dangerous if you analyse it.
August 12th, 2018 8:01pm
This is something which reminds you of past traumatic experiences and memories. If you are experiencing feelings of distress or discomfort with a topic due to your own personal memories, then you have most likely been triggered.
September 12th, 2018 12:07pm
Triggers are words, actions,sights, sounds, feelings and any other form of input that causes you emotional, or sometimes physical upset. You k kw you have one when things in your environment, or people, cause you to feel upset followed by memories from your past being remembered negatively. Triggers are tied to past events that hurt us, and we experience those same emotions from that memory again. This has been my experience with triggers, but it is slightly different for everyone. If you think you have triggers and need to talk about it, there are plenty of active listeners available for you to speak with :)
October 21st, 2018 10:42pm
A trigger is something that causes you to do something else. Many people think that triggers lead to something bad, but that is not always true. It is some times hard to know if you have a trigger or even what it is. I think that being able to identify what your trigger is, you are one step closer to being the best you that you can be. I just to get really mad at the smallest things when they didn't go my way. My tigger was disappointment. I have been working on this by taking a step back when I am disappointed, and thinking about why i am really mad. That allows more me to better prepare for the future, knowing what went wrong and why i was really mad. I am still working on this and sometimes i fail, but I trying to think about it later on so I can improve my reactions in the future.
November 16th, 2018 1:30pm
A trigger is something that when seen, heard, and/or experienced causes strong emotions usually of distress. For some, this can be something graphic, a smell that was present at the time of a traumatic event, or a loud sound. If you are experiencing emotional distress after the fact try and find similarities between situations. Is there a certain topic, sound, smell, image, etc. everytime that you feel this way? If so that would be a trigger. For some, though, triggers can be more random and hard to predict. In these instances, the presence of multiple stimuli (not just one) serves as the trigger. Because of this, it can be hard to point out what exactly is making you distressed. Evaluating the entire scenario may help to break down what the various components of the trigger(s) are.
January 2nd, 2019 2:46pm
Triggers are situations, things, events or people that elicit an unusual extreme emotional reaction from you. They do not have to have any logical reasons for existing. A trigger can be seemingly ordinary and harmless. (For example: Hearing a certain phrase that makes you angry and anxious; seeing a scene in a movie that makes you extremely uncomfortable; getting anxious as a result of being in a certain place while others are fine; reading an article in the newspapers and getting depressed; an so on). These reactions are usually disturbing and negative and will probably make you want to distance yourself from the trigger. All you have to do to confirm that you have or don’t have a trigger is pay attention to your emotional reaction. If it is “out of place” and distressing, you probably encountered a trigger.
January 2nd, 2019 7:44pm
Triggers can be anything that may remind you of something that traumatized you in the past. It can be anything from a smell, the way someone touches you, something someone says, or maybe even an object. You may react to it and feel as if you are in danger again, but your not, it's just the memory. For example; I was recently staying in a very nice hotel that was hosting Christmas parties. There was a fight between a couple and I could her screaming and him saying REALLY awful things that I had once heard from a significant other while we were in a fight, there was also glass breaking. I felt myself immediately go into panic mode, but knowing how triggers work I kept myself as calm as I could and called the front desk so they could stop the incident and then took some time to relax myself and work through the feelings it had brought up. I knew I was safe, but I knew I was bothered by it. Acknowledging feelings and working through them always helps. You are stronger than you could ever imagine.
May 29th, 2019 2:18am
Unexpected Financial pressure and bill. I paid the bills and my dance studio made a mistake and asking me to pay again couple of hundred dollars more. I am not getting paid from my startup but working very hard. Immediately I felt down and depressed. From experience, I guess, something which happens below our expectations or beyond imagination negatively are the triggers. Also, when someone betrays and anything associated with the betrayal which once caused pain causes triggers. Like, ex cheated for someone and that someone is around the kids. Also, learning or imagining that ex taking care of the new relationship better.
August 28th, 2019 6:25am
Triggers in short are words, images, or feelings that remind a person of a past trauma or stresses that can cause panic or flashbacks. These are most common in assault victims or people who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Most people are not aware of them until a reaction occurs however some can be predicted based on traumatic events. For example if you have suffered a miscarriage then you may know that this will be a sensitive subject for you prior to actually responding to a trigger. Do not feel that you are excluded if you don’t have triggers they are simply things that people may need to avoid.
September 6th, 2019 6:58pm
Triggers are emotional things that cause you to feel a rush of negative emotions when faced. They come from an attachment to a negative event that happened to you, or around you. If you feel a negative emotional shift towards something, such as a word, song, smell, location, etc. It may be a trigger. They can manifest as anger, sadness, confusion, anxiety, etc. To know if you have one, see if you experience an intense emotional change when faced with what you believe may be your trigger. If you find that you become negatively impacted by the assumed trigger, ask for help from a trusted adult to help make sure you can positively deal with your trigger.
September 16th, 2019 2:17pm
Being triggered means to re-experience symptoms of a traumatic event after being exposed to a trigger that is a reminder or a catalyst. A traumatic event can be such as actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violation, emotional neglect, abuse. Triggers can include smells, sights, sounds and emotions that remind you of post trauma somehow. Tt can lead to overwhelming emotions, including sadness, anxiety, panic, and flashbacks - vivid memories that appear without warning and can cause you to lose track of where you are or to relive a trauma. Here are examples of triggers: Stress, Anxiety, Feeling overwhelmed, a racing heart, anger, sadness, feeling lonely, feeling abandoned, frustration, feeling out of control, pain, tension... A particular time of day or place. And so on.
November 23rd, 2019 6:48pm
Triggers are something that affects your mental and emotional state for a moment you have accepted or absorbed the stimulus causing it. This stimulus might include all senses. It could be a picture or a sound you remembered that is very emotionalized and part of your inner memory. These memories are planted deep to your personality. You will know it if the moment turned to you instead of the one sharing. This includes being emotional or radical when someone is sharing. Triggers range from short term to long term based on the emotions incorporated to the experience.
November 24th, 2019 9:00am
Triggers can be anything that elicits an emotional or behavioral response. Triggers are very personal; different things trigger different people. It is for the individual to recognize if they have a trigger. Triggers are usually connected with times or events which have been traumatic and left an emotional footprint. For example, it can set off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event, which can quite distressing. They have often been described as a combination of the senses and are identified as well, especially in situations that strongly resemble the original trauma. Our brain is a beautiful thing and a big part of its function is to help us survive and keep us safe. For example fight or flight responses.