Irritability is a feeling of constant frustration and annoyance.  It can shorten the temper and lead to verbally snapping at people.  Everyone experiences this at one time or another, when ill, tired or overworked, but for some people it’s a feeling that is there most of the time and it can occur without any particular trigger.  These people have chronic irritability, which may be a symptom of an anxiety disorder.

It’s common to think of irritability in terms of its effect on other people and how it can make someone difficult to live with, but it’s also unpleasant for the sufferer.  Fortunately, many anxiety disorders can be treated, making the irritability and related problems go away.

Irritability - A Common Anxiety Symptom

Diagnosing Anxiety Disorders

A diagnosis of an anxiety disorder is generally only made if symptoms like irritability last for at least six months and are present more often than not.  There are several types of anxiety disorder and irritability can occur with all of them.  The first thing a doctor will normally do is to look for any treatable causes of anxiety, whether they are underlying medical conditions (such as a hormone imbalance or an undiagnosed chronic illness that is making the sufferer tired all the time) or lifestyle issues that can be changed (such as poor diet or bullying at work).  If this is not the case, or if the problem can’t be fixed, it’s time to try treating the anxiety directly.

Treatments for Anxiety

The first line of attack on anxiety disorders is usually talking therapy.  There are various techniques used in this and some will suit particular patients better than others.  In general, they aim to make the sufferer better at identifying anxiety-related patterns of thought and derailing them.  This can include recognizing irritability and learning how to relax when it becomes a problem.

If this doesn’t work, medicines like Cymbalta or Prozac can often make a difference.  These can be obtained, with a prescription, from any reputable Canadian pharmacy.  It’s important to follow the doctor’s instructions closely when taking them, doing so at the right time of day and continuing to take them for as long as they are prescribed.  Even if symptoms have gone away completely, stopping treatment early can lead to them coming back.

Getting help

Anxiety can strike anyone at any point in life, though it’s more common in younger people and in women, and there is some evidence that it runs in families.  Irritability is often an early symptom so it can be seen as a warning sign, and it’s a good idea to take action in case more debilitating symptoms develop later on.

Some individuals worry about bothering their doctor over things like irritability, and the presence of an anxiety disorder can make this worry worse.  All good doctors, however, recognize the potential seriousness of symptoms like this and will not be dismissive.  At its worst, anxiety can make it difficult to hold down a job and perform ordinary household tasks.  It’s well worth getting treatment to make sure that doesn’t happen.