Irritability in Adults
Irritability is a state of being overly sensitive to stimulation. Adults who are irritable may easily become impatient or angry.
What is going on in the body?
When a person is irritable, he or she may be responding to something that causes pain, concern, fright, or discomfort. In some cases, a serious medical condition can cause irritability.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Mild irritability in adults is common. It can be due to the person being tired or overworked, having a bad day, or just dealing with long lines and traffic. However, adults may also become irritable from a number of medical conditions, including:
injury or infections of any part the body
addiction to or withdrawal from drugs, including alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine
head injury or intracerebral hemorrhage, which is bleeding inside the brain
increased intracranial pressure, which is increased pressure within the brain that can be caused by brain tumors or other conditions
infections involving the brain, such as meningitis, an infection of the brain lining
cancer, such as a brain tumor
reaction to medications or vaccines, such as a flu shot
any serious illness, such as liver disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney disease, or heart disease
emotional or mental disorders, such as anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, depression, abnormal grief, or post-traumatic stress disorder
headaches, such as migraines or tension headaches
autoimmune disorders, in which a person's immune system attacks his or her own body
hormone imbalances, including premenstrual syndrome (PMS), diabetes, and hyperthyroidism
poisoning from toxic substances, such as lead poisoning
vitamin or mineral deficiencies, such as iron or folate deficiency
any other new or chronic illness