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Irritability is the excitatory ability that living organisms have to respond to changes in their environment.[1] The term is used for both the physiological reaction to stimuli and for the pathological, abnormal or excessive sensitivity to stimuli. It is usually used to refer to anger or frustration. In individuals with autism disorder for example, they tend to be marked by aggression patterns.[2]


Irritability can be a growing response to the objective stimuli of hunger or thirst in animals or humans which then reaches some level of awareness of that need. Irritability may be demonstrated in behavioral responses to both physiological and behavioral stimuli including environmental, situational, sociological, and emotional stimuli.

Signs and symptomsEdit

Irritability is the state of feeling aggravated, frustrated, or being prone to simple anger.[3] This type of state is commonly found when in stressful or pressured situations. These states can coincide with social lives and daily routines, making it more difficult to maintain. It is considered for someone to be "irritable" when they have a short temper and immediately becomes frustrated in their situation. Not knowing how to stay calm in the situation can show the state of being irritable. This signifies that something is not right and needs to be brought to attention. It is important to know how to handle and where to seek help when feeling heavy irritation. Irritability is considered an emotion and can affect the mood in a negative way.

Irritability is commonly developed from anxiety disorders.[4] The fight or flight responses triggered in the brain can make irritability easily developed and result in severe grouchiness and aggravation towards other people. Stress hormones take over and lead to attitudes of negative reactions.[5] Feelings of fatigue and difficulty of concentrating plays a part of this type of mood.[6]

Symptoms of irritability may include:

  • sweating
  • hot flashes
  • increased heart rate
  • anger
  • confusion
  • excessive breathing
  • excessive guilt
  • headaches
  • suicidal thoughts


Close irritability can be classified as either physical or emotionally close.[7] Having a physically close irritability can be due to individuals being too close for your comfort. This may lead to a state of panic because you may not have enough space for yourself and feel pressured of other taking over your personal space. Having an emotionally close irritability means you may regret or wished to have worded things in a different way when having a conversation with someone that you strongly care for. It causes emotion because you may think that the other person may dislike you or not care for you anymore. It is the feeling of thinking that you have a loss and can't seem to find the right way to rebuild it.

Causes of Irritability are classified as either physical or psychological. Physical causes can be things such as having a lack of sleep, low blood sugar, or any negative health results. Physiological causes include depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorders. Other potential causes may be from the use of drugs, alcohol, or any side medications.

Reasons behind the development of irritability:

  • poor lifestyle
  • bipolar disorders
  • mental disorders
  • common anxiety
  • sleep deprivation
  • moderate depression
  • stress
  • hormone imbalance
  • "mixed mania"


The first step of resolving irritation from your life is to evaluate where it comes from and what mainly caused it. Finding the answer to questions such as where you find yourself the most calm, what makes you uncomfortable, or things that cause you worries, can help find the solution to heal the irritability.[8]

How to resolve irritability is by addressing the problem and communicating to a therapist (or a significant individual in your life) and explain the situation that they may be in. Evaluating on the problem is recommended instead of hiding it in and ignoring it before it builds up and gets worse. Addressing issues is important so that others can help support the one that is under stress. Never ignore the situation and make sure to reach a therapeutic individual to assist.

A change of lifestyle habits can assist in relieving the condition of irritability. Recommendations include reducing dietary intake of sodium and sugar. These diets don't need to be strict; small changes can help significantly over time. Physical activity can help distract oneself from stressors. Managing sleep is crucial so that your body and mind both get enough rest. [9]


In order to calm our minds and frustration down, there are a few ways in which we can maintain the stress that has taken over. Taking time to sit in silence can help clear our minds and not think about things that would stress us out more. Taking a short walk to gain more perspective in life and enjoy the nature of outdoors. Being able to appreciate the small things we may take for granted every day.[10] Offering help to others and be more sympathetic can change our emotions to positive feelings. Reducing caffeine intake so that our body can fully rest during the night and so no addiction is developed.[11] Substituting caffeinated or sugary drinks for water and tea; Making sure to control cravings and eating in moderation.[12]

Related termsEdit


  1. ^ D, Venes (2013). Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: F.A. Davis Company. ISBN 978-0-8036-2977-6.
  2. ^ Loebel, Antony (2016). "Lurasidone for the Treatment of Irritability Associated with Autistic Disorder". Autism & Developmental Disorders. 46: 1153–1163.
  3. ^ "Irritable Depression: When Sadness Feels Like Anger". Addiction Treatment | Elements | Drug Rehab Treatment Centers. 2013-03-29. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  4. ^ "Irritability Anxiety Symptom". Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  5. ^ "7 Quick Ways to Stop Being Irritable". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  6. ^ Hall, Christina. "The Best Antidepressants for Irritability". LIVESTRONG.COM. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  7. ^ "Irritability - A Common Anxiety Symptom". Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  8. ^ "Reasons, Symptoms, & Causes Of Irritability. Answering The Why Am I So Irritable Question | Betterhelp". Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  9. ^ "Irritable mood: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis". Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  10. ^ "7 Quick Ways to Stop Being Irritable". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  11. ^ "Why Am I So Irritable? 17 Medical Reasons | Reader's Digest". Reader's Digest. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  12. ^ "Anxiety, Irritability & Mood Swings - Women in Balance Institute". Women in Balance Institute. Retrieved 2018-05-04.

External linksEdit

External resources