Home Anger Management Irrational Irritability

Irrational Irritability

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I am usually a very happy individual and throughout most of the day I am quite upbeat and friendly. However, I find that sometimes I will become irritable for little reason. If my shoes feel weird, if I can’t find something, just setting up my computer, or for no reason at all, can cause me to become irritated. It is not to the point where I am yelling and screaming, but I feel a strong urge to break something or to exert force of some kind.

I find this occurs approximately once every day or two days. I have gotten better at recognizing when I am in one of these moods and try to calm myself down by telling myself it is irrational, but it can be difficult. Sometimes the feeling subsides only after I have broken something, afterwards I feel regret and usually slightly depressed.

The problem is that I am not sure what is causing it. I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle. I get lots of exercise, I socialize with people regularly, I eat very healthy and I am generally content with my life. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!

It’s important to gain a better understanding of what’s happening when your irritability occurs. To do that, document these experiences. Keep track of how you’re feeling when they occur. Do this for at least several weeks. Consider things such as:

  • whether you are tired
  • whether you are interacting with certain people
  • whether you are hungry
  • whether they coincide with certain medications you might be taking

Tiredness increases irritability; that’s true for everyone. It’s difficult to maintain emotional stability when you lack energy.

The same is true with hunger. Some people joke about being “hangry,” a phenomenon where people are hungry and it makes them angry and frustrated. A recent Snickers advertising campaign “You’re not you when you’re hungry” highlights this kernel of truth. When people are hungry they can be irritable.

Certain people can make you irritated after interacting with them and you might not be aware of it. It’s good to explore this possibility.

Do you take any medicine and if so, does it coincide with your moodiness? For instance, certain acne medications cause extreme mood changes.

Hormonal changes are also worthy of exploration. Other things that may seem trivial can make you irritated including your apparel. Uncomfortable clothing can be distracting and annoying.

If this continues to be a problem, consider seeing a therapist. Objectivity could help you to uncover triggers that you might be overlooking. Moodiness can also be a sign of depression and therapy could help. Don’t hesitate to consult a mental health professional. They specialize in solving these kinds of problems. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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