Are PTSD triggers real?

Insurance companies in California may be more reluctant to pay long-term disability benefits to individuals whose symptoms are not measurable and quantifiable. If you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, you may have difficulty convincing an insurance company that certain conditions trigger your symptoms. Adjusters and others who work for the insurance company may accuse you of malingering, that is, faking your symptoms to receive benefits.

Nevertheless, according to Web MD, the relationship between triggers and PTSD symptoms is very real. Because many triggers are objectively harmless things, insurance companies may be reluctant to recognize that they provoke your symptoms. However, it is not the inherent danger that the triggers themselves present that instigates the response. Rather it is their association with the traumatic event that has formed in your mind, often without your realizing it.

Because the sense of smell is so closely related to memory, scents are common PTSD triggers. For example, if you were the victim of an assault that took place in a home where one or more occupants used tobacco, the scent of cigarette smoke could be a PTSD trigger for you. Other common PTSD triggers include words, sounds, significant dates, situations, feelings, places or people.

Abnormal neuropsychological function during a traumatic event leads to the formation of PTSD triggers. Processing short-term memory does not take place in a normal way when you experience trauma because your brain is diverting resources to deal with the immediate threat. Since your brain did not process the memory properly, it interprets conditions related to the event as an indication of current danger, causing your fight-or-flight instincts to kick in and producing PTSD symptoms.

Rest assured, however, that PTSD triggers are very real, as are the symptoms that they produce.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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