Irritability is something that inevitably affects all of us at times. We all handle our emotions differently, and therefore express them in different manners, meaning some of us may show our irritability more than others, or perhaps to a more evident degree.
Something I feel as though a lot of people may be unaware of is that irritability, while a very common occurrence, is often a byproduct of anxiety. Personally, I find when my anxiety is heightened or worse than it usually is, I’m significantly more irritable than I normally am, and I find myself to get upset about things that don’t typically perturb me.
“Though we don’t often talk about irritability (an emotional experience leading to agitation and reduced control over our tempers) in the context of anxiety, it’s actually a pretty common symptom. Anxiety can trigger the body’s fight, flight, freeze or fawn response modes even if we’re not actually in danger.
“Anxiety and worry can take up a large portion of our head space if we’re dealing with an anxiety disorder. This type of overthinking, preparing for the worst-case scenario and constant list-making can be really exhausting. And when people are exhausted by those mental to-do lists, they end up feeling depleted, and then they’re more likely to feel irritable.
“Irritability and anger look different for everyone, but according to Jill Stoddard, Ph.D., author of Be Mighty: A Woman’s Guide to Liberation from Anxiety, Worry and Stress Using Mindfulness and Acceptance, some classic anxiety-driven irritability behaviors can include:
- Getting easily annoyed by or overreacting to small things you wouldn’t otherwise feel annoyed by
- ‘Snapping’ at people
- Erratic behavior (like weaving in and out of traffic or hanging up on someone)
- Being passive aggressive,” the article states.
If you’re finding yourself to be more irritable than ever for no apparent reason, speak to your doctor to try and get to the root of the issue.