What Are Triggers And How To Cope

We often see people talk about triggers when online, but do you really know what they are and why it is important to understand them? These days, saying that something might be triggering usually refers to the possibility of having an emotional reaction to some type of disturbing content. However, there is a difference between being triggered and simply uncomfortable.

Although it is commonly used to refer to someone with post-traumatic stress disorder, triggers can be also be used in the context of other mental health issues such as substance use disorders, eating disorders, and anxiety. In these contexts, an example could be someone with a substance abuse disorder seeing another person using their drug of choice. An experience like this could cause cravings or even a relapse.

Triggers can be both internal or external, are deeply personal, and can be different for everyone. Survivors may try to avoid situations and experiences that they worry might cause a flashback or relapse. This can ultimately decrease their quality of life, and in turn cause further mental and physical health concerns in some cases.

One of the first and most important steps someone can take to cope with these issues is to begin recognizing their own triggers. The quicker they notice that an emotion is triggered, the sooner they can address it. This may include stepping away from the situation or taking a moment to question if the threat is real or not.

Some healthy coping strategies for lessening the impact of triggers are:

  • Deep breathing
  • Keep a journal
  • Exercise
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Calling on your¬†social support
  • Expressive writing

Do you regularly feel triggered or are unable to cope with various situations or feelings?

The Therapy Centre has skilled Psychologists, Social Workers and Psychotherapists who effectively treat a variety of issues including PTSD, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, stress, low mood/depression and fears.

At The Therapy Centre we offer Telehealth services including secure phone sessions and videoconferencing, as well as in-person sessions.

Our offices are located at 2525 Old Bronte Road in Oakville and 849 Upper Wentworth Street in Hamilton-just minutes from the QEW and easily accessible from Peel Region, Halton Region, Halton Hills, Stoney Creek and Niagara Region.