Why do i feel so irritable all the time

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

We are accustomed to paying attention only to the 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.

Opinion Psychologist

Tatyana Sharanda


Consultant for family and marriage 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 9000 We are inherently aggressive

— What is irritability?

— Irritability, like anger, revenge, malevolence and so on, is a derivative of aggression that has been cultivated in people for many millions of years and was intended only for survival at the biological level. We are inherently aggressive, this is a hereditary factor inherited from our ancestors.

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 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 stream), cold air (a walk in cool weather is great), holding your breath.
  2. The body will also 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.
  3. In one phrase, your favorite pastime can become a salvation!

Endocrinologist Opinologist

Natalya Yanochkina

Endocrinologist First

Categories of the Medical Center "Exsana" 9000 INFORMATION may be a sympathet - How are psychological irritation and hormones related?

- 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 diseases;
  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 the predisposing factors are known:

  1. heredity;
  2. body sensitivity to estrogen or progesterone;
  3. deficiency 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 animal and plant foods (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









10. 1



Chum caviar granular


















Powdered milk






What to do when everything is annoying. Psychologist's advice


© Evie Shaffer/Pexels

Author Alexandra Egorova

July 14, 2020

Do you notice that you overreact to little things? Do you chastise colleagues and lash out at loved ones? Increased irritability can signal unresolved problems or be a symptom of an illness. In any case, irritability must be dealt with.

The material was checked and commented by Olga Kitaina — psychologist, founder of the service for the selection of psychologists Alter

What is irritability

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This state is often described as a mood. Unlike outbursts of anger or aggression, which are usually caused by specific events, irritability monotonously accompanies a person for some time. In everyday life, this is called "everything infuriates." Even the most minor everyday difficulties or setbacks — coffee suddenly ran out, a shoelace broke, a friend was late for a meeting — cause a distinct negative reaction [1], which seems too emotional.

Everything turns out one to one (only in a bad sense), a person does not expect anything good, and the next mistake is perceived with tired irritation and even gloomy satisfaction, since it makes it possible to express everything in the face of the first one who comes across.

Everyone can experience irritability, but it is not always a cause for alarm. We can talk about increased irritability, including in children and adolescents [2], if it interferes with normal life: it makes work difficult, overshadows communication with loved ones, and deprives them of the usual joys.

Causes of irritability

They can be divided into two large groups [3]: psychological and physiological. Unfortunately, this division does not give an answer in which cases you need to go to the doctor, and in which a person can handle it himself. The first group includes both temporary stress and serious psychological conditions that require attention from a specialist, such as bipolar disorder. The second also includes completely different conditions: lack of sleep and diabetes, unbalanced nutrition and toothache. Some conditions can be caused by infections (flu), others by hormonal disorders.

In women, additional causes of irritability may be premenstrual syndrome, menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome, and some others. In addition, irritability as a symptom of conditions common to both sexes [4] is more common in women.

In order to provide the doctor with the necessary information already at the first appointment or to cope on your own, it is worth observing your condition. Of course, as long as you don't feel any pain (like a toothache), you don't have a fever or other obvious signs that you need to go to the doctor immediately.

© Anastasia Shuraeva/Pexels

What can be done at home

When you visit a general practitioner or specialist, the doctor will probably ask about your habits, daily routine, nutrition and physical activity, stress level. He will ask you to tell about the diseases of your relatives and the drugs you are taking, because irritability can also be a side effect of taking medications [5].

If you don't get enough sleep on a regular basis, you don't move much, and you don't follow nutritional guidelines, you'll have to deal with it. Observations of oneself can be made the basis on which it is realistic to build physical and psychological comfort.

It is ideal to keep a diary of emotions and nutrition, note workouts and sleep time. Brief explanations will suffice, indicating probable causes (both physiological and emotional). In order to structure observations, you can indicate your state of one of the template marks. It can be, for example, a smiley or one of the pre-selected words. It is better to keep notes electronically, so you can quickly print your notes or email them to your doctor.

Psychological causes of irritability

  • chronic stress;
  • poorly developed coping skills;
  • insufficient self-care (not enough sleep, food, time for hobbies and loved ones).

Irritability can also be a symptom of depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other illnesses.

It is fundamentally important to understand whether you did not get enough sleep or do not tolerate being late at all? Headache unsettles you or are you sick of work? These states may overlap. And only observation and respect for yourself and others will help you figure it out.

How not to hurt the feelings of those who are dear to you

Honesty is the best policy both with yourself and with your loved ones. Tell what you are experiencing. Not necessarily in all the details - only what you are ready to share, and what seems appropriate to you. If you explain to relatives and friends that your irritability is not a manifestation of hostility towards them, but a consequence of circumstances or your internal processes, it will be easier for them to understand and support you. To learn how to pronounce problems and accurately determine your condition, it is useful to develop emotional intelligence.

Psychologist's comment

Olga Kitaina, psychologist, founder of the Alter psychologist selection service: “In a certain situation, irritability is useful - it signals that our boundaries have been violated, our values ​​are under threat, something is not going according to plan. We tend to think of irritability as something bad, while anger can be experienced positively as a feeling of vitality and energy. Irritability becomes a problem when it leads to a reaction that is inappropriate for a stimulus, which in turn can lead to difficulties at work or in personal life.

Feeling annoyed is a part of our life and it is absolutely normal, but we must remember that a certain reaction may be read by others as a violation of their rights and boundaries.”

How to cope with irritability when it becomes a problem

During an attack

  • ). This breathing helps to relax.
  • Distract - try to distract yourself with something that will take your thoughts away from the irritant.
  • Ventilate emotions - you can “reset” emotions in a useful way: move to a place where no one sees or hears you and yells into a pillow, tear paper that no one needs, inflate a balloon. All this makes it possible to channel the emotional charge that has arisen without harming anyone.
  • Transition to assertive behavior [6] - learning not only to act out an emotional reaction, but also to take steps that would help correct the situation that causes an acute reaction. We always have a choice of reaction, we need to learn to catch a pause between the stimulus and our response to it and make a choice that is more useful for us.

After an attack