A PTSD Trigger, also known as triggering content, is material that affects someone who has gone through trauma in a way that sets off Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Other types of triggers exist: INeedAFreakingDrink is when something triggers someone to need alcohol (or another substance). A negative behavior trigger is something that triggers an addictive response as opposed to trauma. Seizure triggers are flashing lights or other patterns that affect people with photosensitive seizures, and suicide triggering is the invoking of suicidal or hopeless feelings in a depressed person. The BerserkButton is triggering of anger or irrational rage.

Information regarding triggering or specifically relevant quotes should be placed on the [[UsefulNotes/{{Trigger}} Useful Notes]] page, which has a more in-depth description of triggers and the meta concept for those interested. This page is for the discussion of InUniverse triggering only.

'''Do not put trigger warnings on any TVTropes pages other than FanFicRecommendations.''' Works that have full pages should already indicate the existence of triggering content in the description or trope list in a natural way, and a trope's description should be a good indication of whether or not there will be any significant triggering content in its examples.

Compare the BanOnPolitics (an attempt at handling a near-universal BerserkButton), the NuclearWeaponsTaboo, TriggerPhrase, and TooSoon. Not to be confused with {{Squick}} which may be unsettling, but is not a psychological trigger. Or the animation company, ''Trigger'', made up of former ''Gainax'' employees. If you were looking for a Tigger Warning go [[WinnieThePooh here]].



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}'', Kotomi sees a bus crash and hearing that Ryou might have been on the bus caused her to have a FreakOut. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB40_Vxd2Fw Observe]].
* In ''Manga/{{Kotoura-san}}'', being called a "[[YouMonster monster]]" is a ''severe'' trigger that causes Kotoura's hard-earned sense of self-worth and happiness to crumble, reverting her to her original pessimistic and broken persona--one that is caused, due to [[BreakTheCutie a decade of emotional trauma]], her [[InternalizedCategorism thinking herself as a monster as what people say]], until relatively recently.
* In ''Anime/HeatGuyJ'' [[SmugSnake Clair]] "kidnaps" a little robot child named Teto (after the guy who built Teto illegally refuses to sell the robot to TheMafia), with the intent of reprogramming him to destroy J. Teto is programmed to ask, "Is this alright?" after obeying a command, and this causes Clair to flash back to emotional abuse and neglect from his father. Clair is visibly disturbed by Teto, and gleefully commands the robot to self-destruct after dealing with J.
** [[TheHero Daisuke]] himself triggers yet another flashback (this one to physical abuse) when he gives Clair a ShutUpHannibal speech. This earns Daisuke three gunshots. [[spoiler: But he had on a bulletproof vest, so he's alright.]]
* Shino Asada from ''LightNovel/SwordArtOnline'' was traumatized at age eleven from having shot a bank robber in self defense. Several years later, just someone miming a gun with their thumb and forefinger will make her afraid, and physical guns (real or model) will make her vomit. She entered the gun-based Virtual MMORPG ''Gun Gale Online'' as a self-described immersion therapy to help her fight this trauma.
* In the 2003 ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist'' anime Roy suffers from PTSD and depression over the Ishbal War. When he's fighting a twelve year old Edward in an early episode he starts to deal a final blow but freezes up and remembers how he [[WouldHurtAChild killed a boy]] in the war. This pause leaves an opening and lets Ed defeat him.
** When Edward, who has similar mental health issues in this version, sees the mangled corpse of a woman slaughtered by a serial killer he freaks out and faints. It reminds him of the horrific failed transmutation of his mother.
* Henrietta from ''Manga/GunslingerGirl'' is normally very [[DissonantSerenity stoic and calm]] whenever she's on a mission. Late into the manga, [[spoiler:after she had been reconditioned to the point where she is basically an emotionalless robot]], a man in a ski-mask ends up on top of her. This triggers the severely traumatic [[RapeAsBackstory rape]] and murder of her parents incident years prior, a memory which was supposed to be deleted when she originally became a cyborg but apparently was only repressed. She goes into [[BerserkButton a rage]] and [[spoiler:ends up shooting her handler. As Jose is dying, and she suddenly regained her old personality and memories, they decide to [[SuicidePact kill each other]]]].
* In ''UchuuKyoudai'', [[spoiler: Hibito]] develops a panic disorder after he [[spoiler: almost suffocates in his space suit on the moon. After he returns to earth, he has a panic attack any time he's in a space suit or even thinks about being in one.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the first issue of ''[[ComicBook/{{Batgirl2011}} Batgirl]]'', Barbara Gordon, who only recently recovered from being paralyzed after [[ComicBook/TheKillingJoke being shot by]] TheJoker, freezes up when a villain points his gun at the exact spot where she was shot previously.

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* Near the start of ''[[FanFic/EakinsHardReset Hard Reset]]'''s final chapter, Spike saying the words from the start of the time loop causes Twilight to freeze in shock, which is the first sign to the viewers about the effects of her experiences.
* In ''FanFic/DirtySympathy'' when Apollo tries calling Klavier an endearment[[note]]Like "honey", "darling" or "sweetheart"[[/note]], it causes him to freak out and leave because it gives him flashbacks of Daryan's [[DomesticAbuse abuse]].
* In ''FanFic/AGunToLovesHead'' Light is triggered when Mello pulls a gun on him and L due to the psychological trauma left over from that time when [[spoiler: L had his father put a gun to his head and stage a mock execution.]]
* In ''FanFic/ChristianGreyVsPepperPotts'', it turns out that an attractive woman tripping in front of [[Literature/FiftyShadesOfGrey Christian Grey]] triggers him into deciding on the spot that she's his true love and the perfect submissive for him, no matter how he viewed her before. [[spoiler:This passes on to Rogue after she is taken over by his personality, causing her to chase down Hawkeye to try to spank him after seeing him trip.]]

* The action of the film ''Film/FirstBlood'' is started by the main character having a PTSD flashback in police custody.
* In the Creator/AlfredHitchcock movie ''Film/{{Spellbound}}'', an amnesia victim becomes uncomfortable every time he sees a pattern of wavy dark lines against a white background, because it reminds him [[spoiler: of the event which caused his amnesia - he had witnessed a murder at a ski resort, the dark lines were ski tracks in the snow]].
* In the Creator/AlfredHitchcock movie ''Film/{{Marnie}}'', the title character is upset by patches of red. [[spoiler: It has to do with her mother's murder.]]
* The original version of ''Literature/TheManchurianCandidate''. Actually one of the first films to explore triggering in depth, before the term was even generally used to describe it. While there's plenty of CriticalResearchFailure and such to go around and using triggers to create an assassin is likely impossible in RealLife (thankfully), and while it is definitely PlayedForDrama, the idea of using emotional triggers to manipulate people into doing things they would not otherwise do or act against their own self-interest is actually TruthInTelevision.
* In ''Film/TheMuppets'' (2011), they find Animal in a therapy session to control his aggressive impulses. Turns out "drums" is a trigger word for him, to no one's surprise. It's also one for Creator/JackBlack.
* ''Disney/WreckItRalph'' has a scene where Felix calls Calhoun a "dynamite gal", prompting a series of flashbacks to [[spoiler:Calhoun's relationship with Brad, a man from her backstory who was eventually eaten alive by a Cy-Bug at their wedding, with each flashback consisting of Brad calling her a "dynamite gal".]] The trauma is so horrible that Calhoun ejects Felix from her ship in utter panic.
* In ''Film/IronMan3'', Tony Stark's PTSD is triggered by the mere mention of "New York", "aliens", "wormhole", or anything to do with [[Film/TheAvengers the Chitauri invasion]].
* Marianne from ''WesternANimation/StrangeMagic'' gets lost in flashbacks about being attacked in the Dark Forest by goblins when she goes near it.

* In ''Literature/BlackJewels'', being told they were having "leg" for dinner is this for Janelle. Turns out one of her friends had her leg cut off and fed to the inmates (including Janelle) at [[BedlamHouse Briarwood]].
* The protagonist of ''Literature/UseOfWeapons'' refuses to sit in chairs. It almost feels as if this PlayedForLaughs at first, until the references to a white chair and "the Chairmaker" pile up more and more often. It isn't until the end of the book that you learn he has very good reasons for it.
* Billy Pilgrim, the protagonist of ''SlaughterhouseFive'' [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane is either]] UnstuckInTime and/or suffering from PTSD. Seeing people singing at his daughter's wedding causes him to flash back to the aftermath of the firebombing of Dresden, where he remembers the survivors mouths' gaping like singers in a silent film.
* In Creator/StephenKing's novel ''Literature/{{Desperation}}'', the song "Good Lovin'" from The Young Rascals triggers Johnny Marinville's VietnamWar flashbacks (he was there as a journalist).
* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', the pyrotechnics of the Battle of Blackwater cause the normally fearless Sandor Clegane to have a breakdown, triggering memories of the attack by his brother in his childhood that left him permanently disfigured. Lord Beric Dondarrion's flaming sword has a similar effect.
* In ''Literature/{{Pact}}'', people touching Blake Thorburn without his consent triggers his fight or flight responses, leading him to react mindlessly and panic, a legacy of time he spent as a HomelessPigeonPerson, and the traumas he suffered there. This is repeatedly exploited by his enemies, with one of them [[OurGhostsAreDifferent finding the ghosts of his experiences on the streets]] and using them to MindRape him.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/LittleHouseOnThePrairie'': Experienced by both Albert and Mary in the Season 6 epic episode "May We Make Them Proud." It all starts with a music box, which Albert presented to Mary, who has been in a deep catatonic state since her son (and Albert's nephew), Adam Jr., was killed in a fire at the School for the Blind. Albert plays the melody, and Mary snaps out of her trance-like state, screaming, "'''MY BABY!!!'''" repeatedly. Albert -- who was smoking in the basement of the School for the Blind the night of the fire -- realizes he may have unintentionally started the fire (he and a friend hid a lit pipe inside a pile of old rags) and screams, "'''I DIDN'T MEAN IT!!! IT WAS AN ACCIDENT!!!'''" before running out.
* On ''Series/{{Cheers}}'', when Woody's old girlfriend shows up, he constantly goes out eating with her. He reveals that he used to be obese back in Indiana but since he moved to Boston, he's thin. The other guys realize his old girlfriend is his eating trigger, but don't know how to break it to him.
* ''Series/TrueBlood'':
** After Lafayette gets out of [[spoiler:the dungeon that the vampires held him in]], Detective Andy approaches him in the kitchen at Merlotte's, where Lafayette works. The next scene is basically him threatening to put Layfayette back in ''exactly'' the situation he just escaped from. Terry, a veteran with PTSD who probably recognized the signs since Lafayette had fallen down, ''terrified'', calls the officer in question on this in a sort of one-on-one ShamingTheMob.
** Terry also appears to have gotten one just before we come on-screen. Which makes sense, since he's an Iraq war vet who had just seen [[spoiler:his wife covered in blood. She's not dead, but the white sheets are ''dark red''.]]
* Josh from ''Series/TheWestWing'' has a flashback trigger in Christmas music, because his delayed-reaction PTSD erupted right around Christmastime, and he mentally associated the constant caroling of the band in the White House lobby with the sirens from the assassination attempt during which he was near-fatally shot.
* ''Series/InspectorLynley'': Barbara Havers, back on the job after being [[spoiler:shot in the stomach]] in the previous episode, shows obvious signs of PTSD throughout the episode; she is nervy and jumpy even more than her usual. Lynley is concerned, but doesn't want to interfere. When she is [[spoiler:held hostage at gunpoint]], however, Barbara completely flies off the handle and attacks [[spoiler:the man pointing the gun at her]], using him for a punching bag until Lynley gets there, pulls her off and talks her down with a CooldownHug. It must be emphasized that he could ''only'' manage this because of Barbara's implicit and unconditional trust in him; anyone else trying the same thing would have ''also'' been used as a punching bag, and in fact Barbara obviously nails Lynley a time or two before he can get through to her and she recognizes him.
* In ''Series/{{Firefly}}'', River has seemingly-random trigger moments which bring back memories of her time at [[SchoolForScheming the Academy]], which coupled with her schizophrenia and PsychicPowers (and the PowerIncontinence associated with them) result in very violent delusions. The most common trigger is anything relating to the [[MegaCorp Blue Suns corporation]].
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Mulaney}}'', Lou has Vietnam War-style flashbacks of a failed improv comedy routine for the USO whenever he hears the words "man down".
* ''Series/BlackMirror'': "White Christmas" contains an early scene where the protagonist has a disturbed reaction to the song "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" by Wizzard and to an innocuous but distinctive clock on the wall. This is eventually revealed to be [[spoiler: because he murdered a man while the song was playing, who had that clock on the wall.]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Miles Edgeworth in the ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series is severely affected by earthquakes. An earthquake and airplane turbulence cause him to faint in the fifth case of ''Trials and Tribulations'' and the second case of ''Ace Attorney Investigations'' respectively. [[spoiler:This is because of the DL-6 incident where he, his father, and Yanni Yogi got trapped in an elevator because an earthquake forced it to stall, and his father was killed. Moreover, the incident causes Edgeworth to avoid elevators.]]
* Alice Liddell from ''VideoGame/AmericanMcGeesAlice'' reacts pretty strongly when fire is brought up, probably because her whole family was killed in one.
* One of the most controversial moments of ''VideoGame/MetroidOtherM'' has Samus reacting to the trigger of seeing Ridley again, after he was believed to be dead. The problem most fans had with this was that Samus had never shown any indication of PTSD before ''Other M'' and had likewise shown no problems in taking Ridley down despite their long, violent history.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' plays this trope disturbingly realistically - Guy is afraid of women (and provides the page image for AllergicToLove) and whenever a woman goes to touch him. he recoils away in fear and sometimes even runs. He doesn't know why, an nobody else knows why, and it's PlayedForLaughs for a bit... until it's revealed that it came from PTSD of [[spoiler: his family being killed. His sister hid him in a fireplace, and when soldiers came to kill them all, she and the maids threw themselves onto him to protect him. He passed out, and when he came to, he was buried in a pile of dead women.]] When the player learns this, it changes many skits into a DudeNotFunny and makes the skits and scenes on a subsequent playthrough much HarsherInHindsight.

* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2010-06-22 Slick sees the pit leading to Hell, and remembers when he was in Hell.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Goblins}}'', Kin is triggered [[http://www.goblinscomic.com/04132012/ by being trapped under a tree]], since she used to be raped nightly be Dellyn Goblinslayer, who was part-tree.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', [[spoiler: Karkat's ancestor/double Kankri]] is a parody of a social justice warrior on Tumblr. He tries to be sensitive to the triggers of others except he'll bring up the trigger first and then apologize in the most patronizing way possible. Paraphrased example: [[spoiler: Latula, Terezi's ancestor/double can't smell. Kankri talks about how something smells then apologizes for triggering and insulting her (it doesn't, and she's actually amused by it), and congratulates her on being able to do so much despite not being able to smell and also being a girl.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''{{Rise}}'', an OriginalCharacter tournament game, has one of these for almost every character.
* Flippy from ''WebAnimation/HappyTreeFriends'' takes this trope to the extreme; anything can (and will) trigger his PTSD.
* ''WebVideo/AttackOnTitanAbridged'' has Titans as Eren's trigger. PlayedForLaughs.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Played for laughs (inevitably enough) in ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', where Peter's impersonation of Ralph from ''Series/TheHoneymooners'' triggers Lois' brother's memories of walking in on their mother's affair with Jackie Gleason (an event which put him into an insane asylum and turned him into a serial killer).
* From the ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'' episode "Escape":
-->'''Edward:''' You and Trevor have a lot in common, you know.
-->'''Douglas:''' And what might that be?
-->'''Edward:''' Scrap.
-->'''Douglas:''' Don't use that word! You're making my wheels wobble!
** For clarification, Douglas and his brother Donald are as close as two brothers can be, and when their old railway in Scotland stopped using steam engines like them, they were on the chopping block. Even going to the Isle of Sodor didn't give them any relief at first, as the Fat Controller had only intended to purchase one engine, and spent some time deciding which one to send back, which they both knew was a death sentence. Only a deputation by Percy saved them both.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents'': Want to send Cosmo into a TroubledFetalPosition? Just say "[[NoodleIncident super toilet]]!"
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'': The word "evil" is enough to send [[OldSuperhero Mermaid Man]] into a frenzy.
* ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'': Rolf flies into a violent rage whenever he encounters something wolf related. In a rather disturbing twist, it's implied that his family was in a bloody conflict with a family who associated themselves with wolves in the past.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'': After the events at the end of season 3, Korra [[spoiler: clearly has a major case of PTSD to work through, and every time she's placed in a combat situation risks a paralyzing flashback to Zaheer poisoning and asphyxiating her.]]