What causes irritability?

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.


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