Should authors include Trigger Warnings?

Make your mental health a priority.

Hello, Bookworms.

I am going to talk about Should authors include Trigger Warnings or not. This discussion has been going on for quite some time now. So, I thought about penning down my opinion on it as well.

And yes, I am not a doctor just a human being who is putting her thoughts out loud.

What is a Trigger Warning?

Trigger Warning is a statement or a set of statements at the start of the book, an article or publicly available content to warn the viewer that the content might upset/offend/affect the viewer in a wrong way.

Are they important?

Trigger Warnings are really important because it is important to inform the reader or any other audience what they are walking into. People who are vulnerable to mental health issues, anxiety attacks, depression or traumatic experiences may have a terrible effect on them if they encounter upsetting and disturbing content.

This, not in any way suggest that they are weak because even people who have not suffered from any kind of traumatic experience might get stressed with disturbing content.

I would like to tell you a story about myself real quick, so bear with me. I always watch series or read books that have violence, sexual assault, physical and mental abuse, suicides and all kinds of disturbing content and it doesn’t affect me. A few years back, I started watching Grey’s Anatomy. Now, this serial is really dark, has twisted characters and some disturbing content but I failed to notice that it started affecting me on a daily basis. I never bothered to consider that this could happen to me because I am used to these kinds of serials. Trust me I have seen way dark serial than this one. I should mention that those days were not the best time of my life. So, this serial somehow triggered something and I was totally consumed by its darkness. I mean after watching, I was not able to come out of it. I had sleepless nights, mood swings, I didn’t want to do anything or talk to anyone, I just wanted to cry. Thankfully, when I realized I stopped watching the series, distracted myself and it took a few days for me to get back to normal.

Will they spoil the book?

No, they certainly will not. I know people have expressed concern that they don’t want to lose the element of surprise but trigger warnings are not going to reveal anything but only going to mention that this book has violence or assault and so on and on. You can always skip them. That’s it. There is nothing to lose. And after the warnings, if someone wishes to continue to read then it’s their choice, maybe nothing will happen or maybe something will. We can never know for sure but the least we can do at our end is to warn.

At the end…

My point being, if it could affect someone with no pre-existing illness then think of what will it do to someone who has already been gone through it. We cannot even imagine. So, think about it.

And yes, one last thing I have decided to put out warnings in my book reviews if it has some potentially disturbing content. If you like this idea, tell me in the comments.

My Verdict – Definitely in favor of Trigger Warnings.

Don’t ask me to snap out of it.



14 thoughts on “Should authors include Trigger Warnings?

Add yours

  1. As someone who doesn’t get triggered by anything I (personally) don’t mind books not having them. I do realize there are people out there who feel things differently than I do. Which is why I do think they should be printed in books. I know I am not the only person in this world that reads books. I know there are people who are sensitive to certain topics. Trigger warnings should be in books so people aren’t negatively affected by reading certain books. I also think people should use them in their book reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m in agreement with you, books should definitely have them. I don’t think it’s spoiling because it’s so vague, it’s like if you’re reading a horror you’re going to expect something dark but that doesn’t mean it’s a spoiler! It doesn’t affect people who don’t feel the need for trigger warnings either, only helps those who like them so why shouldn’t books have them?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I totally agree. I don’t like to watch or read something that is too gory and would like to know beforehand if the content could affect me in a bad way or make me feel bad.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The author should completely put a disclaimer or warning on an opening page or on the back of the book. So many people struggle to cope with their problems and unfortunately it can make things worse if a book doesn’t disclose something. Great post, thank you for bringing up such an important topic!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I appreciate this post. I blog about serious and sometimes upsetting topics and have wondered about starting to include warnings at the start of the post. Now, after reading this, I feel like I really should. Thanks for sharing your experience with watching Grey’s, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, they definitely should. I have PTSD and I have observed that reading books giving details of self harm or sexual assault can be triggering sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

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