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Trigger Meaning

 Reviewed 16 November 2018 share-a-picture Or go to discussion?join-the-discussion dogphoto
Symptom vs Trigger vs Cause

What Google ranks for trigger meaning wasn't helpful in practice: it results in a lot of ambiguity when applied to a wide variety of conditions:


Therefore I devised the following trigger meaning and it has served me well in daily practice. Likely it will help you too:

Trigger is what contributes to activate a defect, disorder, or disease.

This may be another defect, disorder, or pathogen, or an allergen, prion, or chemical substance (in medication, "food", household, or environment), or a mutation, injury, radiation, or vaccination, or stress, or social influence.

Note that in most contexts people don't differentiate trigger and cause, they only differentiate symptom and cause. However, most ailments have many triggers that are not the cause.

The critical determinant is:

  • Does this circumstance have the same effect on every organism (dog or person), then we consider this circumstance the cause.
  • Or does this circumstance have the observed effect only on some organisms (dog or person), then we consider this circumstance a trigger,
  • and to identify the cause we need to answer: Which other circumstance does every organism with this ailment share?
  • Is it another defect, disorder, or pathogen, or a mutation, or earlier injury, radiation, or vaccination, or a chemical substance (in medication, "food", household, or environment)?

Note here that an allergen, prion, social influence, and stress can only be a trigger because they don't affect everybody the same way.



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