What is a Trigger?
A trigger is a sensory stimuli from the outside such as an emotion, a physical pain, a visual cue, a sound, a smell, a location or a touch which causes a recollection from the experience of the outside stimuli that connects to a complete memory or portion of a memory (flashback) and results in the surfacing of that recollection. The surfacing memory or flashback may have been held in the subconscious at a dissociated memory storage area in the brain. A trigger can be connected to a good or positive experience as well as a bad, negative or life threatening experience.
New Perspective on Triggers
A trigger is a part of the formation of non-integrated memory. A trigger is formed when a memory of an overwhelming painful event is not integrated by the conscious mind at the time of the situation into long-term memory storage. A trigger is a connection between where a negative painful memory is stored in a subconscious dissociative storage area and the conscious mind for retrieval in at a future time. A trigger is activated by an outside stimulus and evokes a surfacing of a dissociated memory which in turn produces unexplained emotions, images, sounds and physical symptoms associated with the memory triggered. Since the memory is dissociated and not in long-term memory the emotions, sounds, and vivid images seem to originate from nowhere and unconnected to the person’s life.
In its simplest term, a trigger is a monitor connected to the conscious mind that gets activated by the PTSD symptom of hypersensitivity and vigilance.
What is a Panic Attack?
A panic attack is a brief episode of intense anxiety, foreboding, and fear. Often these people who experience a panic attack seem to feel that they are going to lose control of themselves. These attacks generally are not attached to a specific event or object but instead seem to come from nowhere for no apparent reason. The onset of a panic attack is sudden and repeated episodes of intense unexplained fear from within accompanied by physical symptoms.
New Perspective on Panic Attacks
A panic attack is the realization of a projected thought originating from within toward the consequences of a future event or situation that may happen which produces the fear. A panic attack is a projected thought or idea based on a foreboding or overwhelming core belief that takes hold and ruminates in the conscious mind. As a result, ruminating thoughts and overthinking intensify the onset of overwhelming fear that is unconnected or unexplained to anything present in the moment.
As a survivor, it is very important to know whether you are experiencing a panic attack or a flashback that has been triggered in your mind. The main difference between a panic attack and triggered memory is not the symptoms themselves but the perception of what is happening due to inaccurate information.