What is irritability?

Irritability is defined as an abnormal response to a trigger or stressor, resulting in feelings of anger, annoyance, or lack of patience that seem disproportionate to the situation. It is characterized by a low threshold for frustration that leads to frequent outbursts of anger or aggression.

Irritability differs from normal frustration or annoyance in that the reaction is more intense, happens more frequently, and interferes with daily life. Common triggers for irritable outbursts include minor inconveniences, criticisms, delays, noise, or even well-intentioned questions.

Symptoms of irritability may include:

What Causes Irritability?

Irritability has many potential causes, including:

Managing Irritability

If irritability persists, disrupts relationships, or affects work performance, it’s time to seek help. Start by speaking to your primary care provider about potential causes and appropriate referrals.

Self-management strategies include:

For some, medications may be appropriate short-term (such as SSRIs for anxiety/depression). Our clinics at Equilibrium Hormone Institute can also evaluate hormone levels and provide bioidentical hormone replacement if appropriate.

The key is identifying the underlying source of irritability, whether physical, mental, or environmental stressors. A comprehensive approach tailored to one’s unique situation offers the best chance of success. With proper support, those struggling with irritability can learn to better manage reactions and rebuild strained relationships.

This answer was provided for informational purposes only. For medical advice regarding irritability or hormone balance, please speak to your healthcare provider or visit to book an appointment at one of our hormone clinics near you.

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