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Irritability: Introduction

Irritability is an emotional behavior that is result of having feelings of frustration and/or annoyance. Irritability can be a normal emotional response to conditions, such as stress, puberty or anxiety. However, irritability, especially ongoing irritability, may also be a symptom of a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions.

Irritability can occur in any age group or population and can result from such general processes and conditions as infection, intellectual decline, trauma, mental health disorders, addiction, malignancy, and brain tissue necrosis.

Depending on the cause, irritability can be short-term and disappear relatively quickly, such as when occurs due to short-term stress or anxiety.

Irritability can also can be chronic and ongoing over a longer period of time, such as when it is due to serious diseases and conditions, including hyperthyroidism, mental health disorders, Alzheimer's disease or a brain tumor.

Mental health disorders that can result in irritability include psychosis, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Irritability can also be due to alcoholism, drug addiction, and the use of alcohol and certain prescription and street drugs. These include amphetamines, diet drugs, LSD, methamphetamine, hallucinogens, crack and cocaine. Drug withdrawal or alcohol withdrawal and smoking cessation can also result in irritability.

Irritability can be the result of a wide variety of other conditions, diseases or disorders that directly or indirectly affect the functioning of the brain and nervous system. These include intellectual decline, hypoxia and chronic pain. For more details about causes, see causes of irritability.

Ongoing irritability can result in problems in many areas, such as at work and school, in relationships, and in the ability to function independently. In addition, the underlying cause of irritability can cause additional complications.

There are many symptoms that can occur with irritability. Symptoms vary depending on the disease, disorder or condition that is at the root of the irritability. Coexisting symptoms can include anger, agitation, violent behavior, hallucinations, anxiety, restlessness, withdrawal, depression, irrational thoughts, paranoia, increasing forgetfulness, confusion and disorientation.

Diagnosing irritability and its root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination, including a neurological examination. Drug screening and alcohol tests on blood and urine may be performed if irritability are suspected to be due to alcoholism, or alcohol use or drug abuse.

A mini-mental state examination (MMSE) can be used to assess mental and cognitive function if certain neurological conditions, such as intellectual decline or Alzheimer's disease, are suspected causes of irritability. In the MMSE, a health professional asks a patient a series of questions designed to test a range of everyday cognitive skills.

In addition to a primary care provider, making a diagnosis of the root cause of irritability may involve evaluations by multiple specialists, such as a neurologist, psychiatrist and/or psychologist. Making a diagnosis also includes performing a variety of other tests to help to diagnose the underlying disease, condition or disorder causing the irritability. Depending on the suspected cause, tests can include blood tests, lumbar puncture, urine tests, and imaging tests, such as X-ray, CT scan, nuclear scans and MRI.

A diagnosis of irritability and its cause can easily be delayed or missed because irritability may be mild or transient and not last long. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of irritability.

Treatment of irritability involves diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, disorder or condition that is causing the irritability. Some conditions can be easily and successfully treated and cured, while others may require more intensive treatment and may not have an optimal prognosis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of irritability....more »

Irritability: Misdiagnosis

Diagnosing irritability and its cause may be delayed or missed because the irritability may be subtle or progress slowly.

In addition, some people may assume that irritability is a normal part of aging. However, irritability can be associated with serious conditions, such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Sudden irritability may be due to a serious, even life-threatening condition, such ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Irritability:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Irritability. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Irritability: Causes | Symptom Checker » | Assessment Questionnaire »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Irritability

Home medical tests possibly related to Irritability:

Causes of Types of Irritability:

Review the causes of these more specific types of Irritability:

Review causes of types of Irritability in more specific categories:

Irritability: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Irritability, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

Symptom Checker

Symptom Checker

Irritability Treatments

Treatment plans for irritability are individualized depending on the cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age and medical history of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the underlying or associated cause and helps to moderate frustration, anxiety and stress so a person experience less irritability can ...Irritability Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Irritability may include:

  • Magnesium - possibly used for related magnesium deficiency
  • Magnesium - possibly used for related magnesium deficiency
  • Molybdenum - possibly used for related molybdenum deficiency
  • Vitamin B3 - possibly used for related vitamin B3 deficiency
  • Vitamin B1 - possibly used for related vitamin B1 deficiency
  • Vitamin B6 - possibly used for related vitamin B6 deficiency
  • Vitamin B12 - possibly used for related vitamin B12 deficiency
  • more treatments...»

Review further information on Irritability Treatments.

Stories from Users for Irritability

Real-life user stories relating to Irritability:

Message Boards for Irritability

Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to Irritability or relevant symptoms:

Diagnostic tests for Irritability:

Various tests are used in the diagnosis of Irritability. Some of these are listed below :

  • General inspection (if baby, infant or child)
    • Current level of any distress
    • Note character of cry
    • Note presence of stridor or wheeze
    • Note any peculiarity in appearance - e.g. dysmorphic.
    • Note state of alertness
    • Note general state of development
  • more tests...»

Medications or substances causing Irritability:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of Irritability as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Drug interactions causing Irritability:

When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing Irritability as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

  • Accupril (Quinapril) and DiaBeta (Glyburide) interaction
  • Accupril (Quinapril) and Glynase (Glyburide) interaction
  • Accupril (Quinapril) and Micronase (Glyburide) interaction
  • Accupril (Quinapril) and Diabinese (Chlorpropamide) interaction
  • Accupril (Quinapril) and Glucotrol (Glipizide) interaction
  • Accupril (Quinapril) and Orinase (Tolbutamide) interaction
  • Accupril (Quinapril) and Tolinase (Tolazamide) interaction
  • Accupril (Quinapril) and Dymelor (Acetohexamide) interaction
  • more interactions...»

Irritability: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Irritability may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Irritability

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Irritability:

Assessment Questionnaire: Questions your doctor may ask (and why!)

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: Irritability. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist here.

See Irritability Assessment Questionnaire (42 listings)

Irritability: Deaths

Read more about causes and Irritability deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Irritability

Mild worm infections undiagnosed in children: Human worm infestations, esp. threadworm, can be overlooked in some cases, because it may cause only mild or even absent symptoms. Although the most common symptoms are anal itch (or more »

Various mental health symptoms caused by rare epilepsy: Temporal lobe epilepsy is a less common form of epilepsy that does not have the typical physical seizures. Patients can suffer from symptoms such as more »

ADHD diagnosis overlooked hidden nutritional disorder: The book "A Dose of Sanity" reports on a case of a boy diagnosed with ADHD and receiving Ritalin. His symptoms more »

Undiagnosed stroke leads to misdiagnosed aphasia: BBC News UK reported on a man who had been institutionalized and treated for mental illness because he suffered from sudden more »

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, more »

RLS sleep disorder causing night-time leg sensations often misdiagnosed: A common but relatively unknown sleep-related disorder called Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) more »

ADHD under-diagnosed in adults: Although the over-diagnoses of ADHD in children is a well-known controversy, the reverse side related to adults. Some adults can remain undiagnosed, and more »

Bipolar disorder misdiagosed as various conditions by primary physicians: Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder) often fails to be diagnosed correctly by more »

Eating disorders under-diagnosed in men: The typical patient with an eating disorder is female. The result is that men with eating disorders often more »

Depression undiagnosed in teenagers: Serious bouts of depression can be undiagnosed in teenagers. The "normal" moodiness of teenagers can cause severe medical depression to be overlooked. See misdiagnosis of depression or more »

Undiagnosed anxiety disorders related to depression: Patients with depression (see symptoms of depression) may also have undiagnosed anxiety disorders (see symptoms of anxiety disorders). Failure more »

Irritability: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Irritability

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Irritability:

Irritability: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Irritability: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Definitions of Irritability:

Organs affected by Irritability:

The list of organs typically affected by Irritability may include, but is not limited to:

Detailed list of causes of Irritability

The list below shows some of the causes of Irritability mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Irritability?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Irritability. Of the 783 causes of Irritability that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 25 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 20 causes are "common" diseases
  • 11 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 5 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 24 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 743 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Irritability:

The following list of conditions have 'Irritability' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Irritability or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y #



























Conditions listing medical complications: Irritability:

The following list of medical conditions have Irritability or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.







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Causes of Irritability Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Irritability based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Doctors and specialists: Who should I consult about Irritability?

    Depending on the seriousness of the onset of Irritability, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.

    Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :

    Classifications of Irritability:

    Subtypes of Irritability:

    Aggression (192 causes), Fretfulness (9 causes), Hostility (28 causes), Violence (7 causes), Anger (15 causes), Violent behavior (28 causes)

    Medical Conditions associated with Irritability:

    Society problems (1785 causes), Behavioral symptoms (4608 causes), Personality symptoms (4029 causes), Emotional symptoms (2080 causes), Psychiatric symptom (971 causes)

    Symptoms related to Irritability:

    Restlessness (380 causes), Hyperactivity (273 causes), Aggression (192 causes), Meningitis (160 causes), Depression (629 causes), Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, High fever (84 causes), Personality disorder (2 causes)

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about Irritability

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about Irritability and many other medical conditions:

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Irritability:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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