Understanding Mental Illness Triggers
When discussing mental illness, triggers are often one of the first topics mentioned. The concept of a trigger can often be a bit confusing, though, and so it is important to take the time to better understand what triggers are, how they are connected to mental illness, and how to best manage them.
What are triggers?
A trigger, sometimes referred to as a stressor or environmental cue, is a factor in one’s environment which is able to cause an episode of a mental health condition to occur or worsen. The trigger itself is typically unrelated to the mental health condition, meaning that any individual may be susceptible to its effects. Examples of potential triggers include sudden changes in environment, intense or prolonged exposure to violence, hearing other people’s stories, etc. While everyone has different triggers, some triggers may be common to certain diagnoses, or mental health conditions, such as posttraumatic stress disorder.
develop coping skills
How to best manage triggers?
As it is impossible to avoid triggers altogether, it is essential to develop coping skills in order to manage them in the event that they are encountered. One way to better manage triggers is to identify and address the potential stressors in one’s environment, in order to reduce the number of potential triggers present. For example, a person with social anxiety may need to adjust their lifestyle to include more social activities in order to be exposed to potential triggers in a more positive environment. Additionally, when exposed to a trigger, the individual can utilize mindfulness-based approaches in order to recognize the symptoms and respond in a positive way. For example, a person experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression could use mindful breathing and grounding exercises to manage the feelings. Finally, support systems such as therapy, medications, or self-care strategies can be employed in order to cope with triggers more effectively.
In conclusion, understanding mental illness triggers is essential in order to reduce their negative impact and allow for more effective management of symptoms. In order to best manage triggers, it is important to identify the potential environmental stressors and create an environment which will help to mitigate them, utilize mindfulness-based approaches to manage symptoms, and employ coping skills and supportive measures. In doing so, triggers will have less of a negative impact and the individual can move forward with more confidence and self-control.
How Are Triggers Connected To Mental Illness?
The exact cause of mental illness is not known, however, research has identified numerous potential contributors, including biology, genetics, and environmental stressors. These environmental stressors, also known as triggers, can exacerbate existing mental health issues, as well as lead to new mental health symptoms and illnesses. That being said, it is important to note that not every trigger is related to mental illness; rather, it is only in combination with existing biological, environmental, and genetic components that a trigger may cause mental illness symptoms or an exacerbation of symptoms.