What helps irritability

Feeling Irritable? 15 Ways to Feel Less Irritable

Mental health challenges have been on the rise, especially since Covid and all that has transpired since 2020.  Even if you’re not struggling with diagnosable mental health concerns, you may be finding yourself experiencing increased irritability and moodiness.  Not sure about whether your mood has been shifting?  Try asking someone you live with; they’ll be able to tell you.  Or, ask yourself:

  • Do I get easily annoyed or am I quicker to get angry?
  • Do I have a short fuse or feel grouchy quite often?
  • Has anyone told me I’m moody lately?
  • Do people ask me why I’m in a bad mood (and I didn’t even realize I was)?

An even more important question is:

What do I do to get myself out of this irritable, rotten mood when I’m feeling this way?

If you’re feeling irritable, here are some strategies that are worth a try!

1. Reduce caffeine and alcohol.

Caffeine is a stimulant and can rev you up and alcohol is a depressant that can get you feeling down in the dumps for days after you’ve drunk.  Minimizing these highs and lows will get you feeling more stable and less like you’re living on a roller coaster.

2. Gain perspective.

It’s always a good idea to step back and evaluate an issue or problem (or mood).  It helps to diffuse emotions, gain clarity, and let time do its thing.  Ask yourself if this will matter next week or even next month?  The answer is usually no. 

Another way to get some perspective is to find something to be grateful for.   If you’re irritable with a certain person (for example, your partner or roommate), you get double the points if you can think of something you’re grateful for that’s specific to them!  It’s easy to lose perspective when we’re focusing on what we don’t have rather than on our blessings.

3. Get moving.

Sometimes the irritability can stem from just having too much energy in your body.   Get rid of some negative tension and release it with a walk, bike ride, yoga, or whatever you love doing.  Just get your body moving, releasing those nice endorphins, and watch your irritability melt away.  This is helpful if you had too much caffeine and are feeling anxiously irritable.

4. Get quiet or alone time.

Sometimes, we just need some peace and quiet.  Find a cozy spot, breathe, disconnect, listen to music, take a bubble bath, journal, meditate, whatever you need to do, just do it by yourself.  Even extroverts need some time alone.  If you’re a Christian, this is a great time to pray and ask God to talk to you.  In the silent stillness is when God can sometimes be heard more easily.

5. Figure out if it’s hormonal.

Check with your doctor to see if you’re suffering from PMS, seasonal affective disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, thyroid condition, or menopause/perimenopause.   There are lots of different ways to balance your hormones naturally or with western medicine.   Hormones can and will make you cranky, so let’s not be in denial about this one.  Getting an annual physical is a great way to monitor your body’s performance and vitality.

6. Eat something.

Are you crabby because you forgot to eat?  Did you binge on those potato chips and are now covered in guilt?  Have you had anything nutritious for your body today?  Grab a healthy snack rather than junk food.  The keyword here is healthy!  Those chips or that chocolate bar aren’t going to help your nerves. Save junk food for a pleasurable, happy treat when you’re feeling better instead.

7. Go to bed or take a nap.

Are you just completely worn out from the day, week, month, or even year?  Give yourself permission to go to bed.  Sometimes, we just need to sleep it off.  If it’s the middle of the day, I suggest a 25-minute timer to make sure you don’t sleep too long and get in a worse mood.  A refreshing nap can be a great mood booster and waking with a more positive mindset is encouraging!  Or choose to hit the hay early to feel refreshed for the next day.

Therapist Recommended Reads

Interested in learning more about your mood? Try one of these therapist recommended books for a deeper dive.

8. Step away from your phone.

Your phone can be a numbing mechanism and a distraction from real life but it can wreak havoc on your mental health.  Not to mention the fact that it’s a huge comparison trap and can stir up all kinds of negative moods.  If you’re needing connection, you can’t have quality time with a loved one with a phone stuck up your nose.  You can’t truly decompress while scanning the news, social media, or text messages.  Try leaving your phone in another room, set app limits, or find a creative way to utilize less screen time.

9. Stop complaining out loud.

Once you’ve vented or discussed a problem, move on.  No more complaining.  Repeatedly complaining about something, ruminating, or obsessing is just not constructive and not mood-lifting whatsoever.  Give it to God and trust that He will comfort you and give you the strength you need to endure your challenges.

10. Laugh.

When you don’t want to even smile, force yourself to!  And then laugh!  Watch a funny show or movie, look up a funny joke, or think of your favorite funny memory.  This is an instant irritability eraser!  How can you laugh and be a grump at the same time?  (This works wonders with irritable kids, too!)

11. Ask for a good, long hug.

Ask for a hug that is tight and warm for at least 10 seconds.  This will give your brain enough time to release those chemicals to feel happy, peaceful, and loved.  Bonus points if you ask the person that’s annoying you.  If no one’s around, hug a pet.  Most pets love to be held close and cuddled!

12. Give yourself some grace.

Be loving towards yourself and whoever is annoying you.  Know that this too shall pass and you won’t be annoyed forever.  Forgive yourself for being a grump, apologize to someone if you need to, and be done with it.  Everyone gets in a bad mood; it’s ok.  Give yourself some grace and space to do what you need to do to get your mood up again.

13. Phone a friend.

Friends always seem to know just what to say to make you feel better.  Sometimes just hearing a loved one’s voice can put you at ease.  What’s an even better mood booster is when you can help someone else to feel better by listening and being a supportive presence to them as well!

14. Renew your mind.

Pay attention to what you are thinking.  Distorted thoughts like mind-reading, predicting the future, magnification, or even just using a negative mental filter can destroy a mood quickly.  Recognize these thinking errors and replace them with truth, clarity, and encouraging statements.  Hold your thoughts accountable, after all, you’re the only one who can tell yourself what to think.  And what you think determines how you’re going to feel and react to what life throws at you.

15. Allow your mood to indicate something.

It’s natural to feel all the feels, especially irritable ones.  Allow your feelings to indicate you’re feeling something that needs to be addressed.   However, try not to let your feelings dictate who you are or how you should act. Get curious about your mood but don’t allow it to boss you around.  Process your emotions so that your feelings are less likely to dictate your response.

Important Disclaimer:  If you are feeling depressed or suicidal, this is not irritableness.  Please call 911 or seek professional help if you are feeling this way.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)

You’ve read the blogs, tips, and posts with catchy ideas. You’re taking the steps and making progress, but you crave more. You want answers about why habits have formed in your life and how you can take steps to ensure they don’t take hold again.

About Kristi | View Profile

Kristi Schwegman is a psychotherapist specializing in helping couples develop healthy relationships, whether dating, engaged, or married. She also draws from her Christian-based approach to lead individuals in becoming aware of the limiting beliefs that can get them stuck.

We offer in-person and virtual services – contact us today to learn more!

What causes irritability? Symptoms, severity, and treatments

When a person feels irritable, small things that would not usually bother them can make them feel annoyed or agitated. The resulting tension can make a person more sensitive to stressful situations.

Irritability is a common emotion. Many factors can cause or contribute to irritability, including life stress, a lack of sleep, low blood sugar levels, and hormonal changes.

Extreme irritability, or feeling irritable for an extended period, can sometimes indicate an underlying condition, such as an infection or diabetes. It may also be a sign of a mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression.

People may experience the following symptoms along with increased irritability:

  • confusion or difficulty concentrating
  • excessive sweating
  • a rapid heartbeat
  • fast or shallow breathing

In this article, we look at what can cause irritability in adults and children and provide tips for managing irritability.

Share on PinterestLife stress is one of the major causes of irritability.

Going through a stressful period can make a person feel more irritable than usual.

When someone experiences a stressful life event — which may tie in with work, school, trauma, or grief — they may find it more difficult to manage their emotions and can become overwhelmed. They may feel less tolerant of the people around them.

Feeling overwhelmed by life stress is normal, but prolonged periods of stress can lead to emotional exhaustion. Recognizing the early signs of stress and taking steps to relieve this feeling can help people avoid burnout.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provide useful tips for coping with life stress.

Depression affects nearly 16 million adults in the United States. It can manifest in a wide range of symptoms and often causes persistent sadness, fatigue, and irritability.

One of the early signs of depression or a depression relapse is stronger feelings of irritability.

Irritability is more likely to be one of the symptoms of depression in men than in women, and it often occurs alongside aggressive feelings, risk-taking, and substance abuse.

The National Institute of Mental Health state that people may have depression if they experience any of the following symptoms for 2 or more weeks:

  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or hopelessness
  • loss of interest in once pleasurable activities
  • fatigue
  • concentration or memory problems
  • headaches
  • digestive problems
  • sudden changes in appetite or weight

Not everyone experiences every symptom of depression. Symptoms can vary in severity and duration.

Feelings of anxiety often arise in response to stressful situations in life, such as problems at work, preparing for an important exam, or going through significant life changes. This type of anxiety usually goes away once the stressful situation passes.

However, anxiety may linger or worsen over time and can severely affect a person’s daily activities, work performance, and personal relationships.

If a person has excessive anxiety or worry that lasts for 6 months or longer, they may have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which affects up to 20% of adults in the U.S. each year.

The symptoms of GAD can occur in other types of anxiety disorder and may include:

  • irritability
  • a rapid heart rate
  • shallow breathing
  • muscle tension
  • difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • problems falling asleep or staying asleep

People may also experience panic attacks. A panic attack refers to a period of intense fear that develops with little to no warning and peaks within minutes. The exact triggers vary from person to person, and they may not always be apparent.

People who experience panic attacks may find themselves worrying about when the next attack will occur. They might go out of their way to avoid situations, places, or behaviors that could trigger an attack. Thinking about triggers and panic attacks can make a person feel overwhelmed and irritable.

The term phobia describes an intense fear or aversion to a certain object, person, or situation.

Thinking about or having exposure to the phobic situation or item can make a person feel overwhelmed, panicky, and more irritable than usual.

People who have a phobia disorder may feel intense fear or anxiety about:

  • flying
  • heights
  • needles
  • blood
  • being outside
  • social situations
  • specific animals, such as dogs or snakes

Share on PinterestA lack of sleep can cause a person to feel irritable the next day.

Not getting enough sleep, or sleep deprivation, can make a person feel irritable the next day. Children are especially likely to be unusually irritable or emotional if they have not had enough good quality sleep.

If a person feels tired all of the time or finds that sleeping does not make them feel refreshed, they may have a sleep disorder that causes them to wake up regularly at night, such as insomnia or sleep apnea.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that one in three adults do not get enough sleep. They recommend that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Teenagers should get 8–10 hours per night, while babies may need up to 16 hours.

Getting enough good quality sleep is important for health. It plays a role in boosting mental performance, concentration, and immune system function, and it also reduces the risk of heart disease and depression.

People can boost their quality of sleep by adopting the following practices to improve their sleep hygiene:

  • avoiding eating large meals and drinking caffeine and alcohol before bedtime
  • sleeping in a dark, quiet room
  • removing electronic devices, such as televisions, computers, and phones from the bedroom
  • trying to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day, including at weekends
  • getting regular exercise

Read more tips for better sleep here.

Having low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia, can affect a person’s physical and psychological health. Low blood sugar commonly affects people with diabetes as a result of them using insulin and other diabetes medications.

However, people with or without diabetes can experience temporary hypoglycemia if they have not eaten for several hours.

The symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

  • irritability or nervousness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • a rapid heartbeat
  • trembling
  • headaches
  • drowsiness
  • feeling dizzy or lightheaded

Hypoglycemia can also affect a person’s sleep. People can experience nightmares and excessive sweating throughout the night.

Hormonal imbalances can cause various physical and psychological symptoms, including irritability. High levels of stress, poor nutrition, and inadequate sleep can influence people’s hormones.

Other possible causes of hormonal imbalance include:

  • diabetes
  • hyperthyroidism
  • polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • menopause

Low levels of testosterone or high levels of estrogen can cause irritability in males.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is an example of a common hormonal imbalance that can result in mood swings and irritability.

PMS is very common, with over 90% of people reporting PMS symptoms in the week or fortnight before their period.

Other common symptoms of PMS include:

  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • low mood
  • increased anxiety
  • crying easily
  • food cravings
  • abdominal bloating
  • tender or swollen breasts
  • constipation or diarrhea

If a person experiences severe irritability, depression, or anxiety in the lead up to their period, they may have premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). This condition affects up to 5% of females of childbearing age. A doctor can provide information on treatment options for PMDD.

Young children go through phases of appearing more or less irritable. These phases are a normal part of development.

Children often seem irritable if they have a viral or bacterial infection. This irritability will usually go away when they feel better.

In other cases, irritability in children and adolescents can indicate a mood or behavior disorder, such as:

  • anxiety disorder
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • depression

Mood and behavior disorders are relatively common. According to a 2019 study on mood and behavior disorders in children aged 3–17 years:

  • 7.4% have a behavior or conduct disorder
  • 7.1% have anxiety
  • 3.2% have depression

The causes of irritability in older adults are the same as those in younger adults, although there is an increased likelihood of mood swings, depression, and irritability having an association with physical pain, isolation, loneliness, or an underlying medical condition.

The National Institute on Aging list mood changes, personality changes, and increased agitation as early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.

Learn more about the early signs of dementia here.

The treatment options for irritability vary depending on the underlying cause. Effectively treating the cause will relieve feelings of irritability and other related symptoms.

Medications, such as mood stabilizers and antidepressants, can help treat mood disorders. Professional counseling can help reduce mood-related symptoms, such as fear, worry, and irritability.

Treatments for hormonal imbalances include diet and lifestyle changes as well as hormone therapy.

Hormone therapy may not work for everyone, so it is best to consult a trained healthcare professional before starting hormone supplements.

Share on PinterestA person may be able to manage their irritability through regular exercise.

People can manage their irritability in several different ways. Certain methods will work better for some people than others. It is up to the individual to find which coping mechanisms best suit their personality and lifestyle.

A few general tips for managing irritability include:

  • exercising regularly
  • eating a balanced diet rich in whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and low in processed foods
  • maintaining a regular sleep schedule
  • practicing slow breathing techniques
  • practicing meditation
  • speaking with trusted friends and family members
  • meeting with a mental health practitioner or counselor
  • using a journal to keep track of mood changes and triggers

People can experience periods of irritability in response to stressful situations. Persistent irritability may indicate an underlying physical or psychological disorder, such as:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • low blood sugar
  • hormonal imbalances

Children may appear irritable as a normal part of development. In other cases, irritability may be due to an infection, mood disorder, or behavior disorder, such as ADHD, depression, or anxiety.

Older adults may also experience frequent periods of irritability if they feel isolated or lonely. Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, can cause changes in a person’s mood or personality.

People can speak with a doctor or a trained mental health professional if they feel that they need help managing their irritability.

Irritability - causes, symptoms, treatment

Irritability is a temporary or permanent reaction, which is based on a person's high responsiveness to external and internal influences. Outbursts of irritability can be triggered by bright lights, loud noises, the actions of other people, etc.

Irritability is accompanied by anger, anger, aggressiveness, heart palpitations, muscle tension. Therapy includes psychotherapy, as well as taking certain medications.

Disease definition

Irritability is a manifestation of negative emotions directed at a particular person, group of people, negative situation or environment. It can be manifested by an individual character trait, a reaction to constant or episodic stimuli, or be a sign of any pathology. The human condition is accompanied by characteristic symptoms: repetitive movements, nervous and rapid speech, "running" of the eyes, etc.

Normally, people are able to control their negative emotions; in a state of increased irritability, they become dangerous not only for themselves, but also for others.

If bursts of anger or aggressiveness appear frequently, then you should seek medical help.

Women suffer from irritability more often than men. Their deviation is accompanied by resentment, tantrums and increased tearfulness.

An irritated person loses control over himself; in a fit of rage, a person can offend a loved one. In this state, there is a high probability of destruction of friendship, severance of family relationships. A person can fight and even commit murder.

It is worth alerting if the patient was previously balanced and did not show aggressiveness. If a person began to complain that he was constantly nervous and angry for no apparent reason, then a specialist should select a way to solve the problem. In no case do not self-medicate, as a feeling of irritability can signal the development of a serious pathology.

Causes of the disease

Outbursts of rage can appear in a certain situation, for example, under stress, or they can be a character trait. All the causes that provoke irritability are divided into 3 large categories: physiological, psychological and various pathologies.

If irritation is a daily companion of a person, this is not normal. Often, the problem is based on processes that do not pose a threat to health, but reflect the characteristics of the body. The most common causes of constant irritability of a physiological nature:

  1. Temperament. Temperamental traits are based on the processes taking place in the central nervous system. Cholerics and melancholics, who have a mobile and unstable nervous system, are prone to outbursts of rage.
  2. Change in hormonal background. Hormones affect almost all organs and systems. In particular, on the brain and its reactions to external stimuli.
  3. Fatigue. In the absence of proper rest, the central nervous system slides into imbalance. There is a failure in the processes of excitation and inhibition, the likelihood of violent reactions increases. At the same time, a person poorly assimilates new information, he cannot adequately respond to certain events.
  4. Sleep deficiency. If a person does not get enough sleep, then the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body increases. This is a kind of defensive reaction of the body in a stressful situation. The consumption of glucose increases, irritation and anger appear.
  5. Lack of vitamins. Deficiency of useful elements negatively affects the work of the endocrine and nervous systems, provoking mood changes, apathy, irritation, nervousness.
  6. Insufficient or excessive physical activity. Irritation, a tendency to aggression are manifested in the hyperdynamic rhythm of life or the performance of loads that are not suitable for the level of training. Both situations provoke an imbalance in the central nervous system, a violation of the processes of excitation and inhibition.

The state of irritability is partly explained by the peculiarities of the human psyche, the ways people react to internal conflicts and external events. Outbursts of anger are most often diagnosed in individuals with unstable self-esteem and increased anxiety. The following psychological factors can provoke irritation:

  1. Stress. Constant intellectual loads, negative emotions, conflict situations provoke a stressful state. It is accompanied by the mobilization of all the resources of the body to repel a possible attack. Increased irritability guarantees a quick response.
  2. Frustration. In this state, a person experiences a strong desire to perform some action, but cannot do it for one reason or another. Frustration negatively affects the central nervous system, as a person feels daily discontent and disappointment, which gradually turns into anger and irritation.
  3. Neuropsychic exhaustion. One of the most common causes of severe irritability. Increased emotional and intellectual stress, prolonged stress - all this provokes exhaustion of the body. A person's working capacity decreases, he cannot normally perform his professional duties, relax and interact with other people. As a result, despondency grows, irascibility appears.
  4. Wrong upbringing. If children grow up in an atmosphere where adults constantly show irritation, then at a subconscious level they adopt a similar version of the reaction to trouble. In adolescence, irascibility is fixed and develops into a character trait.
  5. Dissatisfaction. If some sphere of life does not correspond to internal aspirations or needs, then irritation grows. Often people are not satisfied with the financial situation, working conditions, family relationships.

Attacks of irritability can signal the development of mental or somatic pathologies.

With mental disorders, the cause of outbursts of rage is an altered mental state of the patient: emotional instability appears, self-control and the ability to adequately assess the situation decrease. With somatic ailments, there are 2 mechanisms that provoke irritation: primary - damage to the nervous system or malfunction of the endocrine organs; secondary - protracted or severe pathologies that greatly impair the quality of life.

The most common causes of irritability and aggression:

  1. neurotic deviations. With neuroses, outbursts of rage are one of the main symptoms. They are provoked by problems with sleep and nervous exhaustion. Also, the patient's performance decreases and unreasonable anxiety manifests itself. If left untreated, irascibility develops into depression.
  2. Personality disorders. Psychopathy is a mental disorder, accompanied by a violation of the nature and behavioral tendencies that affect several areas of the personality. Occur from birth or in early childhood, persisting throughout life. Accompanied by social and personal maladjustment of varying severity. Patients with the disorder react overly impulsively and emotionally to most situations.
  3. Schizophrenia. Short temper makes itself felt in the prodromal period and during remissions. It is provoked by the loss of the ability to adequately relate to what is happening and increased suspicion.
  4. Epilepsy. In patients, the work of the brain changes, which often negatively affects behavior and character. The main symptom of pathology is dysphoria - an emotional disorder, which is accompanied by anger and irritability.
  5. Organic damage to the nervous system. Tumors, TBI, vascular pathologies, intoxication - in all these cases, there is a violation of the work of neurons. Often, pathological processes capture the areas of the brain that are responsible for emotions and behavior, as a result, the patient becomes angry, impulsive.
  6. Endocrine diseases. Hormonal ailments are characterized by a failure of the humoral regulation of emotions. Due to the imbalance of hormones in patients, behavior changes. The most famous causes of nervousness and irritability are diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism.
  7. Drug and alcohol abuse. In the presence of addictions, irritability is explained by poisoning of the body and withdrawal symptoms. Also, the patient develops alertness and unmotivated aggression towards others.
  8. Protracted pathologies. Long-term illnesses that limit activity and are accompanied by pain provoke psycho-emotional disorders. The patient feels depressed and melancholy, which is replaced by anger and irritation.


Depending on how often and under what circumstances outbreaks of irritability appear, several types of irritability are distinguished:

  1. Natural. Every person sometimes faces a situation in which it is impossible to contain irritation. This usually happens when tired, in a bad mood, after a stressful situation. If such emotions occur rarely and are associated with real negative factors and a person is able to control them, then this is considered a normal psycho-emotional reaction.
  2. Pathological. If constant irritability occurs even with minor misunderstandings or for no reason at all, manifests itself regularly and cannot be controlled, then you should be wary and consult a doctor.

Irritability in itself does not pose a health hazard, since it is a physiological reaction of the body. If the patient can independently cope with outbursts of anger and restore a good mood, then medical help is not needed. A visit to a neurologist or psychotherapist is recommended when the problem of irritability is acute. If a bad mood is accompanied by outbreaks of aggression, then a person is a danger to others. Also, therapy is needed if the alarming symptom is a manifestation of any pathology. In this case, without the help of a specialist, dangerous complications can develop:

  • lack of vitamins leads to a weakened immune system and frequent diseases;
  • thyroid diseases can provoke hormonal disorders;
  • prolonged depression leads to suicidal thoughts.


High irritability is diagnosed by psychotherapists and psychiatrists. Usually, the diagnosis does not take much time, because. relatives inform about deviations in the behavior of a relative, increased conflict and the appearance of difficulties in communication. To obtain a complete picture of the patient's condition, the following methods are used:

  1. Survey. The specialist clarifies when the first outbursts of anger appeared, what factors provoked them, how they affect a person’s life. Usually the patient is critical of his own condition and is ready to talk in detail about the problem.
  2. observation. During the conversation, the doctor notes visual manifestations of irritability, restlessness, rapid speech, and sudden movements. Such a state is caused by waiting for an appointment, questions from a specialist or the environment.
  3. Psychodiagnostic tests. Questionnaires are used to determine the emotional and personal qualities of the patient. To assess the level of irritability, MMPI and other methods are used.
  4. Projective tests. If the patient denies the existence of a problem, then he is given several projective tasks. They allow you to discover hidden or unconscious character traits. Most often, the Wagner hand test, drawings of fictional animals, etc. are used.

Instrumental examinations and analyzes are required in exceptional cases. They are used if there is a suspicion of the development of a disease that requires the help of a psychologist.


Due to the variety of causes of irritability, therapy is selected individually for each patient and only after passing a detailed examination. The main methods of treating outbursts of anger are:

  1. Group behavioral therapy. The main task is to correct the patient's behavior, eliminate the feeling of dissatisfaction with life, teach constructive methods of expressing grievances and comments. In therapy, patients recreate conflict situations, use different techniques for switching emotions and try to take the side of the opponent. After the main training, a joint discussion of emotions is held, incl. and irritation.
  2. Individual sessions with a psychotherapist. They are an adjunct to group therapy. Aimed at mastering the skills of relaxation and distraction. The specialist discusses with the patient the possible causes of outbursts of rage - stress, family problems, conflicts with colleagues, etc. Of the practical skills that help get rid of tension, auto-training and a variety of breathing techniques have proven themselves well.
  3. Medical therapy. There is no cure for irritability. Medications are prescribed if the patient has somatic or mental pathologies. Means are selected individually, depending on the clinical picture of the disease. If the cause of irritability is depression and low mood, then antidepressants are prescribed. Sleeping pills are prescribed to relieve sleep problems. Tranquilizers help reduce anxiety and increase concentration.

To normalize the state of the nervous tissue, the patient may be prescribed physiotherapy. Such procedures give a good result only if there are no serious abnormalities in the brain and large-scale measures are not required.

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Prevention or advice in case of illness

Every 2 people have encountered a state when everything is unnerving. It does not mean that you are seriously ill and need prolonged treatment. Psychologists give some advice as a prevention of irritability:

  1. Permanent rest. Change the type of activity, organize a short trip for yourself, do what you love.
  2. Find a hobby that will relieve the psycho-emotional burden and allow you to forget about problems for a while.
  3. Adjust your diet. Eliminate drinks that contain caffeine and other stimulants from your diet. Give up alcoholic beverages.
  4. Generate positive emotions. Every day try to please yourself with some little thing.
  5. Go in for sports. Moderate physical activity normalizes the nervous system. The main thing is not to overdo it, as fatigue will bring a negative result.
  6. Take advantage of aromatherapy. Relaxing scents, combined with some pleasant activity, relieve stress.

It is also worth avoiding stressful situations and regularly undergo scheduled medical examinations.

If you can’t get rid of irritability on your own, and bouts of anger appear more and more often, then you should seek help from professionals. Specialists will help you find a way to cope with irritability and feel calm.


  1. Karvasarsky B.D. Clinical Psychology - 2004.
  2. Bakhtadze T.R., Smirnova O.M., Zhukov A.O. Psychoemotional disorders in some endocrine diseases and diabetes mellitus / Diabetes mellitus - 2004 - No. 2.
  3. Burlachuk L. F. Psychodiagnostics: Textbook for universities - 2006.

"How you all piss me off!" Psychologist and endocrinologist reveal the causes of irritability

We are accustomed to paying attention only to diseases of the body. In the meantime, WHO has officially recognized burnout syndrome as a factor influencing the state of public health. One of the clearest symptoms of this problem is increased irritability. The psychologist and the endocrinologist told in detail what are sometimes the causes of this condition and how to overcome it in the early stages.

Psychologist's opinion

Anger - targeted aggression against a specific external threat. Irritability is accumulated discomfort, prohibitions on the physical, mental and emotional levels. It is enough just not to get enough sleep - and, please, irritation begins to splash out of you, like water from a trembling glass.

- How long can "attacks" of irritability last in time?

— The duration of how long a person is in a state of irritation is very individual and depends on many factors. For example, people with a strong type of nervous system, but with deformed personal qualities, can pour out their irritation on the heads of their neighbors for quite a long time and often. By the way, at the same time they get pleasure, as they alleviate their emotional state.

Slightly different background, but some older people can be included in the same group. Indeed, due to age-related changes, emotional and psychological stability decreases. This manifests itself through constant discontent and grouchiness.

Unfortunately, the frequency of "attacks" of irritability is growing disappointingly among young people. Social and economic cataclysms, information overload, as well as a skillfully imposed accelerated pace of life - such a model of society is not designed for the mental and biological capabilities of the body. It far exceeds human potential.

— What happens to the psyche at the moment of nervous tension?

— When something angers or irritates us, adrenaline begins to be released to prepare our body for a possible threat. Why is adrenaline dangerous? Too much of it can lead to high blood pressure, headaches, nausea, and sleep problems.

Irritability is a personality trait

— What factors influence the occurrence of irritability?

Biological factor. We are a biopsychosocial model. Whether we like it or not, the animal potential is present in us. The physical condition of the body is very important. If you don’t get enough sleep, feel unwell or are simply hungry, the application for irritability is ready!

Psychological factor - irritability as a personality trait. This is a learned habit of being annoyed at a particular situation, trying to somehow change it. The inability to defend one's boundaries and state one's needs, isolation, subordination, inadequate self-esteem, and so on - all these are "effective" qualities for the accumulation of irritability.

Socio-cultural factors — there are an infinite number of them: social roles, position, status, family problems, material vulnerability — all this, of course, irritates us.

- When is irritability a symptom of a mental disorder?

Here are the clear signs:

  1. unreasonable irascibility. When the object of irritation is actually absent or the level of emotional intensity does not correspond to the situation;
  2. frequent manifestation of irritability;
  3. obsessive actions and thoughts caused by a reaction to the object of irritation. For example, the desire to wash the same mug several times.

Learn to switch attention

- Working with the body through movement. Only after the tension is relieved at the physiological level, will the process of establishing a balance between the body, thoughts and emotions begin. If you are going to start working only from a psychological level or through willpower to forbid yourself to react negatively to this or that event, you will only grow the negative feeling that you are struggling with. But first it must be recognized and accepted.

Methods that help fight irritability:

  1. Cold water works well (wash your face or put your hands under a jet), cold air (a walk in cool weather is great), holding your breath.
  2. The body will respond with gratitude to the switch of attention. If you are a kinesthetic (tactile sensations are important to you), feel free to fall into the arms of a dear person, and if he is not there, get a dog that loves to be stroked and hugged. If you are an auditory person (attention is most focused on sounds), put on your headphones and immerse yourself in your favorite tunes. If you are a visual (perceive the world around you primarily through your eyesight), turn on a kind and beautiful film.

    — Hormones can affect our mood and vice versa - mood affects the hormonal system. If there are no reasons for irritation, and a person is often quick-tempered and dissatisfied with everything in the world, in addition to a psychologist, it is worth contacting an endocrinologist. After all, this is one of the symptoms of a variety of disorders.

    Most often, the thyroid gland is to blame for increased emotionality. Strong causeless irritability can be a sign of its increased function (hyperthyroidism). In such a situation, the thyroid gland can increase in size and produce an excess amount of thyroid hormones (T3 - triiodothyronine and T4 - thyroxine). Their excess production often occurs against the background of stress (chronic or acute) and occurs after childbirth (postpartum thyrotoxicosis). In this case, TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) decreases as the main marker of changes in the thyroid gland. If these two points are excluded, it means that a certain hormonal failure has occurred in the body, which needs to be studied more deeply.

    Testosterone can also act as an irritant, which makes men more courageous. Its large amount in the representatives of the stronger sex does not always cause aggression, but with women things are different. Increased testosterone can anger even a meek lady.

    Other "characters" come into play in stressful situations. Let's say a car sped by unexpectedly. The adrenal cortex instantly releases a chemical “cocktail” into the blood, which includes adrenaline (which helps to quickly navigate the situation and make decisions) and norepinephrine (opens access to the power resource and turns on aggression).

    If a person is under chronic stress, his level of the hormone cortisol rises, which, by the way, contributes to the accumulation of fat in the abdominal cavity. There is even such a thing as a “cortisol tummy”. And you can go to the gym as much as you like, but the extra kilos in this area will not disappear until you work on your emotional state.

    Irritability is also a symptom of:

    1. liver disease;
    2. Alzheimer's disease;
    3. diabetes mellitus;
    4. complex recovery process after a stroke.

    At certain periods of life heightened emotionality is the norm

    — Everyone knows that adolescence is the age of protest and rebellion, why does this happen?

    — During puberty, the pituitary gland (a brain appendage in the form of a rounded formation) begins to work actively in a teenager. He has many worries. It stimulates and builds the work of a number of "soldiers": sex hormones, thyroid hormones, FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), prolactin, insulin and others. All this leads not only to physical, but also to psychological changes.

    Parents need to understand and forgive this period, because until the teenage organism sorts everything out, the hormonal “storm” can provoke: aggression, whims, irascibility, stubbornness, mood swings and other unpleasant moments in the child's behavior.

    — Is it true that every month many women become irritable due to premenstrual syndrome?

    - Yes, PMS is a period that occurs 7-10 days before menstruation. And this is by no means a fictional condition, but a diagnosis approved by doctors.

    Indeed, the syndrome can have an extremely negative effect on mood, and it manifests itself in 20-50% of women. Moreover, the older the fair sex, the more often this happens. The reasons are not fully understood, but predisposing factors are known:

    1. heredity;
    2. body sensitivity to estrogen or progesterone;
    3. lack of vitamins and microelements.

    Vitamins + movement + good sleep = good mood

    — What elements do we need for peace of mind?

    — Deficiency of any elements affects both well-being and mood. I would pay particular attention to magnesium. Its lack can provoke tearfulness, apathy, sadness and, of course, irritation. As a rule, doctors prescribe it in tandem with vitamin B6, which also normalizes the activity of the nervous system.

    The same elements have a beneficial effect on sleep. Therefore, do not rush to buy sleeping pills at the pharmacy (especially since some drugs have a bad effect on sleep phases). Better consult with experts. They will prescribe you a course of medicines containing magnesium and vitamin B6, which also help fight insomnia. By the way, pregnant women are prescribed magnesium in the early stages so that the fetal nervous system is properly formed.

    — What other tips for inner harmony could you give?

    — Be sure to observe the daily routine. This is really very important. You need to sleep in absolute darkness. Close the windows with thick curtains, try not to use nightlights. Only in complete darkness, a sufficient amount of the hormone melatonin is produced. It promotes the production of the happy hormone serotonin. Its maximum release occurs from 00:00 to 04:00, but even if a little light enters the closed eyelids, the amount of melatonin is reduced. As a result, waking up, a person feels overwhelmed and irritable, even if his night's rest lasted the prescribed 8 hours.

    Move more. Physical activity also increases serotonin levels. Ever felt energized after a workout? Everyday problems no longer seem so terrible, and even physical fatigue seems pleasant.

    Be careful with sedatives when you don't know the cause of your difficult condition. If irritability becomes too frequent your companion, consult a doctor and psychologist. The sooner you understand what's wrong, the sooner you solve this problem with minimal health risks.

    How much magnesium does the human body need?

    Recommended daily magnesium intake by age and gender

    Age and sex

    Daily Value

    Permissible limit

    Child 1-3 years old

    90 mg/day

    140 mg/day

    Child 4-8 years old

    140 mg/day

    250 mg/day

    Child 9-13 years old

    250 mg/day

    600 mg/day

    Girl 14-18 years old

    350 mg/day

    700 mg/day

    Youth 14-18 years old

    420 mg/day

    750 mg/day

    Male 19-30 years old

    400 mg/day

    730 mg/day

    Man over 30

    450 mg/day

    800 mg/day

    Woman 19-30 years old

    320 mg/day

    660 mg/day

    Woman over 30

    330 mg/day

    670 mg/day

    Pregnant woman 19-30 years old

    420 mg/day

    700 mg/day

    Pregnant woman over 30

    430 mg/day

    710 mg/day

    Breastfeeding woman 19-30 years old

    410 mg/day

    650 mg/day

    Breastfeeding woman over 30

    420 mg/day

    660 mg/day

    Magnesium is found in foods of animal and plant origin (mainly leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains and their products, such as whole grain bread.

    Table with foods containing the maximum amount of magnesium, as an example


    Magnesium, mg





    Dried pumpkin seeds






    Sesame seed






    Wheat bran









    17. 5



    Soy flour, raw






    Cocoa powder












    Dried Brazil nuts






    Instant coffee powder




    0. 5


    Sunflower seeds






    Sesame gozinaki























    13. 0

    Pine nuts












    Sunflower seed kozinaki












    Dry ground ginger









    14. 1















    Wild rice

















    16. 0

    Seaweed, kelp












    Dark chocolate






    Brown rice






    Pink salmon caviar granular










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