Irritability can be a common, short-term reaction to a frustrating situation.

Severe and/or long-term irritability, however, may be the symptom of a mental health issue that can substantially diminish a sufferer’s quality of life.

Symptoms of irritability

Irritability can manifest in a range of ways, from visible signs of aggression and changing moods to problems with attention and social interaction:Daily Telegraph. (2013). ‘Health advice: managing irritability’. [online] Available at: [accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

  • Showing aggression (physical or verbal)
  • Frequent bouts of anger and rage
  • Swift changes in mood
  • Blaming others for our own mistakes
  • Having reactions disproportionate to situations (a ‘short fuse’)
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty concentrating on tasks
  • Becoming quieter, even reclusive, to avoid showing irritability