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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 by answering questions that your doctor may ask below:

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  1. How long has there been a problem with irritability?

    Why: to determine if acute or chronic.

  2. Is the person with irritability a baby, infant or child?

    Why: if so, there are specific causes to consider.

  3. If the person is a baby, infant or child, are there any distinguishing features of the cry?

    Why: e.g. whimpering high pitched cry with meningitis, weak feeble cry with botulism or infantile myasthenia.

  4. Details of mother's pregnancy?

    Why: e.g. illness during pregnancy, gestation when baby born, smoking during pregnancy, alcohol ingestion during pregnancy.

  5. Details of birth?

    Why: e.g. labor, mode of delivery such as normal vaginal, caesarian, forceps.

  6. Birth weight?
  7. Apgar score at birth?
  8. Neonatal complications after birth?

    Why: e.g. special care nursery admission, bruising, jaundice, seizures, lethargy.

  9. Type of feeding?

    Why: e.g. breast fed or bottle fed, time of weaning.

  10. Babies previous illnesses and any period of hospitalization?
  11. History of past surgery?
  12. Immunisation history?
  13. Current health of other siblings and family members
  14. Family history?

    Why: e.g. genetic disorders.

  15. Sleep routine?
  16. Developmental history?

    Why: e.g. milestones.

  17. Age of baby?

    Why: from birth to 3 weeks many babies sleep a lot, the crying periods do not last long and are usually easy to resolve; from 3 weeks onwards things may change, sometimes dramatically with babies crying more and sleeping less. Unexplained crying for a short period every 24 hrs is normal for about 80% of all babies. A small number of babies (about 20%) cry a lot for large parts of the day and night. These babies sleep poorly, wake early, cry and draw up their legs a lot. Things slowly improve between 3 and 6 months. The majority of crying babies are healthy babies who do not have a clearly defined, treatable medical problem.

  18. What are your stressors at the moment?

    Why: questions specifically about relationship, family, children, social support, occupation, general physical health and financial stresses. Significant stressors may cause irritability or may increase the risk of depression and insomnia.

  19. Past psychiatric history?

    Why: certain mental illnesses known to cause irritability include depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, mania and personality disorders.

  20. Alcohol history?

    Why: Alcohol abuse may cause irritability and also increase the risk of major depression.

  21. Illicit drug use?

    Why: many illicit drugs may increase the risk of irritability and personality change.

  22. Have you ruled out explained reasons for baby or infant irritability?

    Why: e.g. wet or soiled nappy, hungry, thirst, teething, too cold, too hot, tired, lonely, scared, noisy environment, lights too bright.

  23. Is the baby gaining an acceptable amount of weight?

    Why: may help determine if irritablity is due to hunger.

  24. Fever?

    Why: suggests infection e.g. urinary tract infection, viral gastroenteritis, viral upper respiratory tract infection, ear infection, meningitis.

  25. Symptoms of inguinal hernia?

    Why: e.g. irreducible tender lump in the groin - the hernia can become clamped off by the tight muscles in the groin which is called strangulation and causes intense pain.

  26. Symptoms of intestinal obstruction or intussusception?

    Why: e.g. weight loss, pallor, vomiting, sudden change in the babies bowel movements, drawing legs up and an alarming sudden change in the baby's behavior. Spasms tend to last for 2-3 minutes and occur at intervals of about 10-15 minutes - these conditions are very rare.

  27. Symptoms of urinary tract infection?

    Why: e.g. failure to thrive, poor feeding, vomiting, diarrhea, thick smelly urine, may be discomfort with passing urine, fever.

  28. Diarrhea?

    Why: may suggest viral gastroenteritis which can contribute to an irritable, crying baby.

  29. Symptoms of a head cold?

    Why: e.g. runny nose, mild fever, mild cough - can contribute to a irritable, crying baby.

  30. Hoarse voice or cry?

    Why: may suggest sore throat, congenital syphilis.

  31. Symptoms of teething?

    Why: e.g. flushed cheeks, increased saliva - teething does not cause persistent unexplained crying in healthy babies.

  32. Symptoms of colic?

    Why: e.g. attacks in the first few weeks of life of screaming, drawing up of legs and refusing to be comforted. The cause of colic is poorly understood and invariably disappears by the 4th month of life.

  33. Symptoms of esophageal reflux?

    Why: e.g. frequent vomiting, crying especially after a feed and if laying flat, wakefulness, back arching, breast or bottle refusal, sometimes complicated by failure to thrive and vomiting blood.

  34. Symptoms of food allergy?

    Why: e.g. rashes, excessive mucous, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, swelling or vomiting. - research yields very conflicting results about the incidence of excessive crying and irritability being caused by food allergies or intolerance.

  35. Symptoms of meningitis?

    Why: e.g. fever, pallor, vomiting, lethargy, excessive irritability, refusing feeds, may have a whimpering and high pitched cry, rash is often a late sign.

  36. Symptoms of depression?

    Why: e.g. depressed mood, crying spells, irritability, anhedonia (loss of interest or pleasure), increase or decrease in appetite (usually decreased), weight loss or gain, insomnia or increased sleeping (usually early morning waking), fatigue, loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness, feelings of excessive guilt, poor concentration, difficulty making decisions, low libido, thoughts of death or suicide attempt.

  37. Symptoms of Manic-depression?

    Why: e.g. episodes of depression (often psychotic in intensity) and at other times episodes of psychotic excitement (mania or hypomania). Symptoms of psychotic excitement may include elevation of mood, increased activity, grandiose ideas, irritability, disinhibition (which affects social, sexual and financial behavior), rapid speech and racing thought, delusions (persecutory or grandiose) and sometimes hallucinations.

  38. Symptoms of anxiety?

    Why: e.g. nervousness, shakiness, tremor, restlessness, irritability, insomnia, poor concentration, heart palpitations, racing heart, sweating, dizziness, diarrhea, lump in throat and frequency of urination.

  39. Psychotic symptoms?

    Why: e.g. hallucinations, delusions, disordered thought - may assist in differentiating schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and severe psychotic depression.

  40. Symptoms of brain tumor?

    Why: e.g. headache, dementia, seizures, stroke-like symptoms, irritability, depression.

  41. Symptoms of menopause?

    Why: e.g. hot flushes, night sweats, heart palpitations, lightheadedness, dry vaginal, dry skin, headaches - Menopause may also present with depression and irritability.

  42. Symptoms of dementia?

    Why: e.g. impaired memory, impaired judgement and thinking, impaired verbal fluency and impaired ability to perform complex tasks. Personality may change, impulse control may be lost and personal care deteriorates. People with dementia may also have psychiatric symptoms such as delusions, paranoid ideas, hallucinations, mood disturbance and behavioral disturbance.

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.


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