What is Irritability and Irritability Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

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Irritability refers to the state of anger or intolerance often over small things which occur according to the changes in the environment. The experiences in life events get overwhelmed, and their long duration causes emotional exhaustion.

It leads to different behaviours, and its common symptoms include frustration, agitation, fatigue, oversensitivity, and difficulty breathing. The period of persistence of irritability is temporary for infants as inconsolability could fade while they get older. If it continues to affect mood, it is an early sign of disorders in adulthood. For the persistence period, it is a chronic condition in adults apart from any underlying issue discovered.

When a person goes through something that makes him anxious or afraid, the rising amount of stress hormones (like cortisol) get excreted. The hormones energise a “flight or flight” system and cause a person to revert to emotions such as anger or irritability.

There is a rise in the level of unusual hostility or increased times of crying, hitting, fussing, biting or kicking when it comes to children. At the same time, in adults, irritability can manifest as an escalated level of hostility, reduced threshold for aggressiveness or increased propensity to anger and fret about an issue.

What causes irritability?

  1. Psychiatric conditions such as drug, alcohol, depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia
  2. The situation of nervous system comprising Dementia, Stroke, Brain tumours, Head injury
  3. Cardiovascular disease, Impaired balance and coordination, muscle twitching, Chronic pain, Lung disease and other acute or chronic illness

How can one treat irritability?

  1. Prescriptions: Factors such as mental health, which lead to irritability, can be treated after consultation with a medical professional who recommends Psychotherapy, medications like antidepressants or both as per the situation.
  2. Managing through lifestyle habits: To deal with the irritability behaviour, one could consume healthy and nutritious food which includes less fat and sugar, in terms of physical activity, practice exercise daily, going to the gym and doing cardio or walking, deep breathing techniques, emphasising on relaxation while sleeping. One could write a journal expressing gratitude. Hence, it will improve mood and prevent the situation of irritability.
  3. Seeking social support: There is no harm in talking about your issues to your friends and relatives, which will help resolve fear, worry, loneliness.

Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center, Medical Director, Dr Steven Lamm says, “Sleep is critical for proper mental health, so when you’re fatigued you get irritated.” Adding on showcasing irritability, “People don’t want to acknowledge that they’re in pain, so instead you see irritability. They’re not themselves and their temper is short because they’re in pain.”

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a usual situation that affects the digestive system. It is usually a lifelong problem, which can have a significant impact on day-to-day activities. Factors such as unsuitable diet, an immense amount of stress, poor sleep, viral and bacterial or parasitic infections in the gut might cause IBS. This could remain for weeks and months, and it affects 6-18% of people globally. Its symptoms comprise bloating, fatigue, constipation, diarrhoea, stomach cramps.

It does not have a cure but has some treatments such as changes in life habits, more intake of dietary fibre, carbohydrates and medications prescribed by the medical professionals.