On Edge & Hot-Headed? Why Irritability May Be a Symptom of Anxiety

Have you found yourself lashing out more at the people around you?

If these unexpected feelings have become hard to ignore or even blame on a bad day, it might be time to explore the cause.

Managing anxiety is significant undertaking on your part. It causes so many negative emotions already that being tolerant of more stress becomes a huge task. It’s no wonder anxiety is so closely related to irritability. Read on to find out if your hot-headed mood is a symptom of anxiety.

What Anxiety Does 

Anxiety is a cruel taskmaster. It can make everyday duties seem more difficult and taxing. This alone is cause for irritability.

With this added difficulty, functioning in your day-to-day life could very well drain you of energy, positivity, and even patience.

Anxiety is more than just worrying. The feelings and thoughts that accompany anxiety activate your parasympathetic nervous system. A human body doesn’t know the difference between true immediate danger and pseudo danger.

To your body, it feels the same and responds accordingly.

The way your body responds to anxiety is the “fight or flight” response. In this state, your fear is met with an intense sense of urgency.

How Anxiety Makes You Irritable

When the “fight or flight response” is activated, your brain seems to function at high-speed. Anything that gets in the way of this imposed urgency is likely to irritate you.

Anxiety Feeds Off Your Surroundings

It’s common that the people physically closest to you cause you the most stress. They don’t often mean to or even know it’s happening.

For instance, the chewing sound coming from the table next to you at a restaurant might send you into a rage. You know it’s not a huge deal, but you still see red.

When you’re in an anxious state already, any little annoyance can become a big annoyance. It’s not you getting irritated, per se, it’s the anxiety at work inside you.

Furthermore, it’s almost as if you feel your space has been invaded. Because of anxiety, you don’t have the ability to just let it go. It becomes something on which to fixate and relieve some pressure.

Anxiety Feeds Off Your Emotions

Many people who struggle with anxiety lean heavily on their partners, friends, and family, or even a support group. These close connections can easily become a target of anxiety-induced irritability.

When you are connected so deeply with another person, essentially, you become vulnerable to them to some extent.

Anxiety can cause you to become overly concerned with how they think of you.

Even the littlest criticism can be taken far too seriously. Before you know it, things can get blown out of proportion.

Once a blow-up happens, the tension between you and the other person might be thick thus beginning the cruel cycle of anxiety over again.

What To Do

The first thing is to recognize what makes you irritable and when your highest level of irritability occurs. Gauging yourself is key to disarming irritable moods.

Most likely, you’ll find that anxiety was the cause of your mood. Knowing this is key in addressing irritability at its core.

Secondly, it’s important for you to find a coping strategy to deal with irritable feelings when they hit. While you can’t always predict when or how anxiety-induced irritability will occur, you can strategize a preemptive strike.

Remove yourself from the situation or do a deep breathing exercise.

By recognizing your irritable patterns, you will come to understand the relationship between irritability and anxiety in your own life.

For more assistance in dealing with anxiety, please contact me. I look forward to helping you find ways to live a more fulfilling life