How to Deal With Triggers From Trauma

How to Deal With Triggers From Trauma?

Trauma triggers are things that can remind you of a bad experience and make you feel like it is happening again. It is important to know what triggers your trauma so you can manage your feelings. Triggers can make you feel very scared or anxious. Understanding your triggers is important for feeling better.

Healthy Mind Maryland provides individualized care, therapy, trauma management, and community-based mental health resources.

Let us look into details about how to deal with triggers from trauma.

Understanding Trauma Triggers

Trauma triggers can make you feel like you are experiencing a bad event again. It is important for people who have experienced trauma to know what triggers their feelings so they can manage them well.

What Are the Causes and Triggers of Brain Trauma?

Physical injuries, accidents, or emotional abuse can lead to brain trauma. A traumatic event can change how the brain works for a long time. These changes can heighten sensitivity to triggers connected to the traumatic event.

How Trauma Triggers Affect Mental Health?

Mental health can be affected by trauma triggers, especially for those with PTSD. They can cause fear, anxiety, panic attacks, and feelings of helplessness or disconnection from reality. Understanding triggers and seeking support is crucial for mental health.

3 Types of Behavioral Triggers

Behavioral triggers are things that can make someone react strongly. Here are three types:

  1. Environmental Triggers

These are places, situations, or things that can lead to unexpected reactions. For example, a loud noise might remind soldiers of gunfire and upset them.

  1. Social Triggers

These are interactions with certain people or groups that can bring back memories of past bad experiences. This can make someone feel scared or anxious.

  1. Sensory Triggers

These are things like smells, sounds, or textures that can bring up strong feelings. For instance, a particular smell might remind someone of something bad that happened and upset them.

Types of Trauma Triggers

Different people can be triggered by different things, but there are common triggers that many people may experience.

The main triggers are internal (from thoughts or feelings) and external (from the environment).

  • Internal Triggers: Internal triggers are thoughts, feelings, or physical sensations (like a racing heart) that can lead to PTSD.
  • External Triggers: These are events outside your physical environment that can cause PTSD symptoms and remind you of a traumatic event.
  • Environmental Triggers: Triggers can be places, objects, or situations that remind us of trauma, like a car accident survivor feeling triggered while driving.
  • Sensory Triggers: Sensory triggers, such as smells or sounds, can remind us of trauma. For example, the sound of loud noises or the smell of gunpowder could trigger a combat veteran.
  • Emotional Triggers: Triggers linked to specific emotions from trauma, like feelings of helplessness or fear.

Trauma in Teenagers

Trauma can affect teenagers in many ways. It could be from abuse, bullying, accidents, or seeing violence. This kind of experience can change how they act, feel, and relate to others. They might feel anxious, sad, or get angry easily. It is important to support teenagers who have been through trauma and help them find ways to feel better.

Retraumatization Vs Trigger

Retraumatization is when something makes a person feel like the trauma is happening again. A trigger is something that reminds a person of the trauma. Triggers can lead to retraumatization if not managed well.

PTSD and Common Triggers

PTSD can happen after a scary event. People with PTSD may have intrusive thoughts, nightmares, or flashbacks triggered by sounds, smells, or situations reminding them of what happened.

Triggers of Complex PTSD

Complex PTSD is a type of PTSD that occurs after prolonged and repeated trauma, often in relationships. People with complex PTSD may have triggers from their own traumatic experiences, like certain words or actions.

Symptoms of Complex PTSD

Complex PTSD shows up in many ways. Some common signs are:

  • Big Emotions: People with complex PTSD may have strong and changing feelings, like feeling angry, sad, or scared.
  • Seeing Themselves Negatively: People with complex PTSD often have negative thoughts about themselves, feeling like they are not good or lovable.
  • Trouble in Relationships: Trust and getting close can be hard for people with complex PTSD. They might find it tough to make friends or know how to be in a good relationship.
  • Always Alert: Feeling jumpy and watching out for danger all the time is common in complex PTSD. This can make them feel tired and always nervous.
  • Feeling Disconnected: People with complex PTSD might have times when they feel like they are not part of what is happening around them or even in their bodies.

Exploring the Causes and Risk Factors of Complex PTSD

Complex PTSD often comes from being exposed to trauma for a long time. The kind of trauma, how bad it was, and how old someone was when it happened can all affect if they get complex PTSD. Some things that can raise the risk of complex PTSD are:

  • Abuse in Childhood: People who were abused as kids, whether physically, emotionally, or sexually, are more likely to get complex PTSD.
  • Domestic Violence: Those who have been in ongoing domestic violence, as a child or an adult, might get complex PTSD because the trauma keeps happening.
  • Being Held Captive: Being captured or in a hostage situation can lead to complex PTSD because the trauma lasts a long time, and they have no control.

Options for Treating Complex PTSD

Treating complex PTSD needs a personalized approach. The aim is to deal with the trauma, handle symptoms, and help healing. Some common treatments for complex PTSD include:

  • Trauma-Focused Therapy: Therapies like EMDR or Prolonged Exposure Therapy can help process and heal from trauma.
  • Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT can help identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors linked to complex PTSD, promoting healthier coping.
  • Medication: Sometimes, medication can help manage specific symptoms like depression, anxiety, or sleep problems.
  • Complementary Therapies: Yoga, meditation, or art therapy can help along with other treatments, giving you more ways to feel better and show your feelings.

How to Identify Your Triggers?

To manage trauma triggers, it is important to first identify and recognize them. This involves being aware of your feelings and thoughts. Think about what situations, people, or things always bring up bad memories or feelings. You can keep a journal to note these triggers and see if there are any patterns. Once you know your triggers, you can start to find ways to deal with them better.

Treating Trauma

Treating trauma often requires professional help to understand its effects on the brain fully. A mental health professional can suggest different treatments, such as:

Trauma-Focused CBT

This type of therapy focuses on helping individuals recover from trauma by addressing their psychological and emotional well-being.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

This therapy helps you deal with bad things that happened before by using your eyes to strengthen your mind at handling tough situations.

Tension and Trauma-Resolving Exercises (TRE)

These exercises aim to reduce stress and tension in the body, which can help alleviate trauma symptoms.

Examples of PTSD Triggers

PTSD triggers vary for each person, depending on their trauma. Some common triggers include:

Loud Noises

For people who went through combat or violence, loud sounds like fireworks or gunshots can bring back strong feelings.

Certain Smells

Smells connected to the trauma, like smoke or certain perfumes, can bring back vivid memories.

Specific Places

Being in a spot that reminds them of the trauma, like a hospital or where the event happened, can bring up bad emotions and memories.

Let Us Conclude, How to Deal with Triggers from Trauma?

Handling triggers from trauma can be hard, but you can find peace. To manage them, learn what triggers your trauma, recognize them, find ways to cope, get help from professionals, and build a support system. This helps you heal and recover.


What are the triggered signs?

When trauma triggers you, you might suddenly act differently, feel very emotional, or have physical signs like sweating or a fast heart.

How does trauma affect the nervous system?

Trauma can make your body feel on edge, making you more sensitive to triggers. This might make you feel very alert, anxious, or like you are not feeling much at all.

What is complex PTSD and triggers?

Complex PTSD comes from long-lasting or repeated trauma. Triggers can exacerbate symptoms of complex PTSD, leading to emotional dysregulation and re-traumatization.

How to cope with trauma triggers?

Dealing with trauma triggers means knowing what they are, understanding how they affect you, and finding healthy ways to cope. Grounding exercises, mindfulness, and therapy can help.

What are some strategies for dealing with trauma triggers in everyday life?

To deal with trauma triggers, practice self-care, set boundaries, seek support, and do relaxing activities.

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