Trauma Triggers - What Are They and How Can You Avoid Them?

Updated: Sep 19


Trauma triggers are events or situations that can cause a survivor of trauma to experience strong emotions or flashbacks. Triggers can be anything from a certain sound or smell to a place or person. In some cases, triggers may be things that remind the survivor of their trauma in a general way, such as heights or large crowds. It is important for survivors to be aware of their triggers so that they can avoid them or be prepared if they do encounter them.



What are Trauma Triggers?

As we mentioned, trauma triggers are events or situations that can cause a survivor of trauma to experience strong emotions or flashbacks. Triggers can be anything from a certain sound or smell to a place or person. In some cases, triggers may be things that remind the survivor of their trauma in a general way, such as heights o


r large crowds. It is important for survivors to be aware of their triggers so that they can avoid them or be prepared if they do encounter them.


How do Trauma Triggers Affect the Body?

When a person experiences a trigger, it can cause a physical reaction in the body known as "Fight-or-Flight." This is the body's natural response to perceived danger, and it is


designed to protect us from harm. However, in people who have experienced trauma, this response can be activated even when there is no actual danger present.


Survivors may feel like they are back in the original traumatic event and may experience some of the same symptoms they did at the time, such as heavy breathing, sweating, and an increased heart rate. In some cases, flashbacks may occur where the survivor relives the event in their mind in great detail. It is important to remember that these reactions are normal and that there is no need to feel ashamed about them.


How Can You Avoid Trauma Triggers?

There are some steps you can take to avoid trauma triggers:


  • Identify your personal triggers: What are the things that trigger your reactions? Make a list of them so that you can be prepared if you encounter them.

  • Avoiding places and things that trigger you: If certain places or things trigger your reactions, try to avoid them if possible. For example, if you know hearing helicopters makes you feel anxious, try to stay indoors when possible.

  • Talk about your triggers with people who support you: It can be helpful to talk about your triggers with people who understand and support you. This can help you feel more prepared if you do encounter them.

  • Use coping mechanisms: If you do encounter a trigger, it is important to have coping mechanisms in place so that you can get through it. Some examples of coping mechanisms include deep breathing exercises, listening to music, and journaling.

  • Seek professional help: If you find that your reactions to triggers are impacting your day-to-day life, it may be time to seek professional help from a therapist who specializes in treating survivors of trauma.

Trauma triggers are an unfortunate reality for many survivors of trauma but there are steps that can be taken to avoid th


em. By being aware of your personal triggers and having coping mechanisms in place, you will be better prepared if you do encounter them.

Remember, you are not alone - there is help available if you need it!


-Flo DeVaul-Dudley


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