4 questions that are more effective than trigger warnings

The word “trigger” is often thrown around loosely, but it’s more than just a meme. People often oversimplify this concept, suggesting that it’s all a result of oversensitivity or irrationality.

Beyond jokes, being triggered involves complex psychological and physiological processes. It’s not just a matter of being thin-skinned; it’s about personal experience, past trauma, and the complex world of human emotion.

What does it mean to be “triggered”?

Being triggered means having an immediate, strong emotional reaction (such as anger or pain) to content or events that evoke past traumatic experiences. What is triggered, therefore, is the trauma, the feelings and reactions associated with the traumatic event.

RELATED: How to Prevent Fears, Triggers, and Past Trauma from Controlling Your Life

Today, some people use the term “triggered” more broadly to include reactions that are not necessarily related to past trauma. What we often overlook is that if a person is triggered but does not have PTSD, their intense emotional reactions are likely due to unhealed emotional trauma.

This distinction is important because PTSD requires treatment from a mental health professional, whereas many emotional traumas can be treated with therapy or self-help that desensitizes you to them.

The second thing we make has to do with trigger warnings. We think they are both useful and effective. However, many recent studies have found that neither is necessarily true.

Do trigger warnings work?

Trigger warnings were originally instituted on college campuses starting in the 1990s to warn people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that upcoming media or courses contained certain topics so that the person could opt out or prepare to lower their React to it with your own emotions.

Various studies have found that trigger warnings are not only unhelpful, but may have a negative impact on people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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