No one is alien to feeling irritated for no reason but sometimes the smallest of issues could have a meaning behind it, especially if the issue persists.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 31, 2020. It has since been updated.
Have you ever experienced waking up cranky and irritated with almost everything and everyone around you? Your day just begins with this weird feeling inside, which cannot be explained in words, and when someone asks you what's wrong, you feel even more irritated because you don't have an answer. All of us have one of those days. But, did you know that the unknown irascible feeling could be a health warning?
According to Healthline, irritability can be defined as agitation as well but "agitation" is used only when the irritability is in a higher form. Either way, the feeling can make you feel upset over the silliest of things. Things that usually don't make any difference in your life might change your mood in an instance. All of it could either be due to a stressful situation or the effects that the ongoing stress is having on your mental and physical health.
Irritability can be experienced by people of all ages. You must have noticed your babies becoming squeamish when they have stomach aches or ear infections. So, the feeling is quite normal but sometimes you can feel it on a regular basis. When this happens, you might want to find the underlying issues and consult a doctor:
Here are some of the problems listed below:
“Sleep is critical for proper mental health, so when you’re fatigued you get irritated," according to Dr. Steven Lamm, clinical professor of medicine and medical director of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center. Lack of sleep can result in the same behavior as that of babies who cry all night. Sleep should always be number one on the list, as reported by The Healthy.
A sore back, neck, or shoulder might look like nothing in the beginning but it can be the source of the crankiness. According to Dr. Lamm, the adults don't accept that they're in pain and try to shrug it off and the discomfort turns to irritability.
According to Medical News Today, it can also be an indication of mental health conditions or depression. Dr. Jeffrey Deitz, a psychiatry specialist with a private practice in Connecticut, says, “There are many, many degrees of depression, from transient, which is part of normal human living, to clinical, which could severely impair someone’s life." While low-level depression symptoms unlike clinical depression don't affect the day-to-day life, the most visible sign is grumpiness and pessimism. Some medications for clinical depression can also increase irritability in a few people.
Dr. Deitz says, “When people are anxious, they are in a heightened state of arousal, and it takes less to make them jumpy." That's true. A person suffering from anxiety feels the pressure a hundred times more than the usual. An anxious person's reaction to irritability might be what we call an overreaction. But that's just them expressing their feelings. Anxiety should not be ignored and should be treated as soon as possible to maintain balanced mental health.
While caffeine is great to wake you up in the morning, it can be the reason you end up being cranky as well. According to Dr. Lamm, “Caffeine is an alerting agent, and when you withdraw from stimulation, you can be fatigued and irritable.” That means, while not getting the morning cup of coffee can irritate you, downing more than a cup can give you the same results. According to US News, when the effects of the caffeine and sugar wear off, that could also be the reason for irritability.
According to The Healthy, even before a woman starts with menopause, the fluctuating hormones lead to a lack of sleep and irritability. It is one of the first signs of perimenopause. Dr. Deitz says, “There’s a rapid and significant fluctuation in female hormones, mainly progesterone. That’s the irritability hormone in women.”
Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland starts producing more hormones than required and this could lead to excessive sweating and a racing heart. According to Dr. Lamm, “You’re just on edge. Whenever you just don’t feel well, that can lead to irritability.”
This might seem like a bizarre reason to be on the list, but newly prescribed medicines can be a leading cause of your irritated mood. Prednisone which is used to treat patients with asthma or some allergies can create huge shifts in the mood. Dr. Deitz says, “High-dose prednisone is an example of a physiological stressor that can produce a lot of irritability. You want to look for any changes.”
These are just a few examples. A proper checkup could help you find answers to all your questions regarding your irritability.