Irritability is a sensitivity to stimuli that results in agitation.  It is not in itself a diagnosable condition but can be an indicator of other concerns.  An irritable person may be on edge, angry, excitable, and prone to explode with outbursts when upset.


  • Becoming excessively upset by seemingly simple things
  • Hunger and anger
  • Anxiety: irritability may be a symptom of anxiety attacks when an individual is over-stimulated
  • Depression: depression wears a person’s mood down until the slightest trouble can set them off
  • May be caused by pain from a physical condition (toothache, fever, etc.)


Anxiety disorders and Major Depression may be responsible for irritable moods.  It’s also possible that a person suffers from Bipolar Disorder or a personality disorder.  Irritability is not however, a specific symptom of psychological disorders and is extremely common among diagnosable conditions.  Children may also commonly be irritable without cause for serious alarm.  A mental health professional will be able to discern a disorder from normal expressions of irritability.


No immediate treatment is necessary for irritability.  If it occurs in the presence of another mental health condition or diagnosis, it may necessitate concern.  Irritable mood may be a sign of a psychiatric condition worsening.  It can also be an effect of medication and should be investigated further by a medical professional.

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