Is Irritability A Sign Of Depression: Notice The Connection To Overcome Unwanted Feelings

Depression is a serious mental health disorder that can have a profound effect on an individual’s life. One of the tell-tale signs of depression is irritability, which can be described as being easily annoyed or frustrated and having difficulty controlling emotions or reactions to situations.

In this article, we will explore “is irritability a sign of depression” and look at ways to manage it if needed. We will also discuss what other factors may contribute to feelings of irritability in people who are not necessarily experiencing depression. Finally, we will provide advice on when to see a mental health professional and how they can help.

Irritability as a Sign of Depression

Depression is a serious mental health disorder that can have a profound effect on an individual’s life. It can cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and reduced interest in activities or things that once felt pleasurable. It can also manifest itself through physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and digestive issues. One symptom of depression that may be overlooked is irritability.

Studies have shown that depression is associated with increased levels of irritability. In a study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health, more than two-thirds (67%) of people with major depressive disorder reported feeling irritable or “on edge” most days or nearly every day. Other research suggests that even in mild cases of depression, irritability is a common symptom.

In fact, irritability may be one of the first signs of depression in some individuals. It can manifest in different ways such as snappiness and hostile outbursts, or feelings of frustration and anger even when faced with minor issues. It can also become more pronounced during times of stress and have a negative impact on relationships.

In addition to this, research also shows a link between depression and physical health problems that can lead to irritability. A 2019 study found that people with depression reported more severe and frequent headaches than non-depressed individuals, which could contribute to irritability. In some cases, it is not always clear why physical health issues arise, but research suggests that depression can be linked to many physical problems, including headaches.

An Irritable Man fighting with other one

10 Common Symptoms of Depression

Depression is a serious mental health disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause both emotional and physical symptoms, including feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, and irritability.

While these are the most common signs of depression, there are other symptoms to watch out for as well. Here are the 10 common symptoms of depression:

  • Reduced energy or feeling fatigued most days
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Changes in appetite (overeating or not eating enough)
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Increased restlessness or irritability
  • Insomnia (inability to fall asleep or stay asleep)
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Aches, pains, digestive issues, and other physical problems with no clear cause
  • Unexplained crying spells or tearfulness without an obvious trigger.

8 Reasons Why Is Irritability a Neglected Sign of Depression

Irritability is a common symptom of depression, yet it can often be overlooked or underestimated. This may be because irritability is seen as less severe than other symptoms such as sadness or hopelessness. Additionally, many people don’t think to associate being “snappy” with depression.

However, irritability should not be overlooked when assessing for signs of depression. In this article, we’ll look at 8 reasons why irritability is an important sign of depression and should not be neglected.

1. Social Stigma

The stigma around mental health issues has long been a barrier to people seeking help or even recognizing the signs of depression in themselves and others. As a result, many people overlook irritability as an indicator of depression because they do not want to draw attention to their feelings or be labelled as “mentally ill.” This can prevent people from getting the help they need.

Here are a few other related reasons:

  • Feeling embarrassed or ashamed to talk about mental health issues
  • Fear of being judged, ridiculed, or rejected due to stigma
  • The belief that depression is a sign of weakness or personal failure
  • The idea that depression can be managed without help from others
  • The perception that irritability is simply part of an individual’s personality rather than a possible symptom of depression

2. Physical Symptoms Overshadowing Mental Health Symptoms

Depression often manifests itself with physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, aches and pains and digestive problems which can easily overshadow the mental health symptoms. People are more likely to seek help for physical ailments rather than psychological ones and so irritability may go unnoticed or be dismissed as just a sign of tiredness.

Here are a few other related reasons:

  • Tiredness is often seen as the primary reason for feeling irritable and other mental health signs are overlooked
  • Physical ailments such as digestive problems, headaches or insomnia may be more noticeable than mood changes
  • Lack of awareness that feelings of irritability can be signs of depression
  • Difficulty in distinguishing between physical and psychological causes of fatigue, aches and pains
  • Mental health conditions like depression are not treated with the same urgency as physical health issues

3. Fear of Overreacting

People who suffer from depression may feel hesitant to seek help due to fear of being labelled as “overreacting” or “too sensitive”. This can be especially true in the case of irritability, which is often dismissed as merely a sign of impatience or anger.

Here are a few other related reasons:

  • Anxiety about appearing weak or overly emotional
  • Fear that talking about depression will make it real
  • Self-doubt and believing emotions are irrational and unfounded
  • Feeling like mood changes aren’t ‘justified’, leading to hesitation in seeking help
  • Hesitation to talk about experiences out of shame or guilt leads to internalization and isolation

4. Lack of Education

Many people are not educated about the signs and symptoms of depression, which can lead to confusion when trying to differentiate between normal responses to stress and irritability caused by depression. This lack of understanding can be a barrier to seeking help from professionals as individuals may not recognize the signs or be aware that there may be an underlying psychological cause.

Here are a few other related reasons:

  • Not knowing how to identify symptoms associated with depression
  • Misunderstanding the difference between normal stress levels and prolonged mood changes due to depression
  • Not having access to or awareness of mental health resources available in their community
  • Minimizing symptoms due to lack of recognition of the severity of depression
  • Not having people close to them who can recognize changes in mood and behaviour that could indicate depression.

5. Poor Access to Mental Health Services

Even when individuals are aware of their condition, they may not be able to access proper mental health care due to a lack of resources or financial constraints. This can lead to a delay in receiving treatment which can exacerbate the problem and further discourage people from seeking help.

Here are a few other related reasons:

  • Limited availability or affordability of mental health practitioners or appropriate treatments
  • Distance from providers prohibiting regular visits or follow-ups
  • Inadequate insurance coverage for mental health services
  • Stigma or discrimination associated with seeking help for mental health issues
  • Negative experiences with previous treatments cause reluctance to seek additional help.

6. Social Norms

Social norms and expectations can contribute to individuals not seeking help for mental health issues. In many cultures, there is a stigma associated with mental illness which can prevent people from discussing their feelings or seeking the necessary support they need. This can lead to bottling up emotions which may eventually manifest as irritability and other symptoms of depression.

Here are a few other related reasons:

  • Shame or embarrassment in talking about experiences with depression
  • Fear of judgment or rejection from family and friends if they disclose mental health struggles
  • Pressure to maintain an image of strength and resilience
  • Difficulty asking for help due to cultural beliefs about mental illness
  • Inability to recognize symptoms as the result of depression due to preconceived ideas about mental health.

7. Biochemical Imbalance

In some cases, depression can be caused by a biochemical imbalance in the brain which affects neurotransmitter function. This could lead to changes in mood and behaviour that could manifest as irritability or other signs of depression.

Here are a few other related reasons:

  • Difficulty regulating emotions due to abnormal neural pathways
  • Changes in sleep patterns or appetite due to irregular serotonin levels
  • Increased risk for relapse due to hormonal imbalances
  • Physical fatigue or exhaustion due to constant mental strain
  • Cognitive difficulties such as memory loss or difficulty concentrating.

8. Trauma

Traumatic experiences can contribute to the development of depression and may cause individuals to exhibit irritability as a sign of their internal struggle. Trauma-related depression can be difficult to recognize or diagnose, leading to its neglect as a potential sign of depression.

Here are a few other related reasons:

  • Difficulty trusting others due to past experiences with trauma
  • Feelings of guilt, shame, or regret that manifest as irritability
  • Disconnection from oneself and one’s emotions due to overwhelming fear or anxiety
  • Avoidance behaviours that lead to further isolation and despair
  • Heightened sensitivity resulting in increased emotional reactivity.

Overall, there are many reasons why irritability may be a neglected sign of depression. It is important for individuals to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in order to seek the necessary help and support they need in order to manage their mental health.

A Tired Man


5 Ways Are Irritability a Sign of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a form of major depression that occurs after childbirth. It affects up to 15% of new mothers, often manifesting as feelings of sadness or exhaustion, difficulty bonding with their baby, and changes in eating or sleeping patterns. One lesser-known symptom of PPD is irritability or agitation, which can be mistaken for normal postpartum mood swings. Here are 5 ways in which irritability may be a sign of postpartum depression.

1. Increased Stress and Anxiety

Postpartum depression can manifest through increased stress and anxiety, both of which can cause irritability in individuals. This is due to the sudden and dramatic changes from pre-pregnancy life to post-pregnancy life and the added responsibility of caring for a newborn.

Here are a few more signs:

  • Lack of sleep due to the newborn’s irregular schedule
  • Hormonal imbalances due to childbirth may lead to mood swings
  • Difficulty adjusting to new roles such as motherhood or parenting
  • Fear of failing at parenting due to unrealistic expectations
  • Overwhelming feelings of guilt stemming from thoughts or actions that aren’t deemed ‘perfect’.

2. Feelings of Isolation

Feelings of isolation in new parents can lead to depression and irritability. This is caused by a lack of social connections and support networks which can be difficult to maintain when caring for an infant.

Here are a few more signs:

  • Feeling disconnected from family or friends due to parenting duties
  • Difficulty meeting other mothers or forming meaningful relationships with peers outside the home
  • Unfamiliarity with the baby’s cries and behaviours leading to feelings of overwhelm and helplessness
  • Lack of personal time outside of childcare responsibilities
  • The feeling of being overwhelmed, unappreciated, or unsupported.

3. Hormonal Changes

Hormonal imbalances are common during pregnancy and post-pregnancy and can contribute to the development of postpartum depression. These hormonal fluctuations can cause symptoms such as fatigue, mood swings, and irritability which are often overlooked as signs of depression.

Here are a few more signs:

  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping due to irregular hormones
  • Mood swings or sudden shifts in emotion due to hormone fluctuations
  • Physical exhaustion resulting from caring for a newborn and managing hormonal changes
  • Difficulty regulating emotions in response to stressors
  • Changes in appetite due to hormonal shifts.

4. Relationship Difficulties

Relationship difficulties during post-pregnancy can lead to feelings of discontentment, leading individuals to exhibit irritability as a sign of their distress. This is caused by an increased amount of pressure placed on the relationship in addition to a lack of communication or support.

Here are a few more signs:

  • Financial stress due to changes in income, childcare costs, and related expenses
  • Lack of physical intimacy due to exhaustion and increased responsibility
  • Unaddressed feelings or grievances lead to tension between partners
  • Inability to communicate needs or expectations due to differing parenting styles
  • Unrealistic expectations of one’s partner lead to disappointment.

5. Uncertainty About the Future

Uncertainty about the future is a common cause of irritability among postpartum individuals as it can be difficult for them to adjust and plan for their life after childbirth. This can bring forth feelings of insecurity and confusion which may manifest as irritability.

Here are a few more signs:

  • Fear of returning to work due to new childcare responsibilities
  • Difficulty maintaining a sense of identity and purpose in life post-pregnancy
  • The overwhelming feeling that comes with the responsibility of caring for a newborn
  • Anxiety about unknown parenting challenges ahead, such as potty training or discipline
  • Uncertainty about one’s future goals and aspirations.

It is important to remember that irritability is often an early sign of postpartum depression and should not be ignored or dismissed. If you are experiencing any of the signs listed above, it is essential to seek help from mental health professionals who can provide appropriate treatment and support.

Connection Of Irritability With Other Disorders

Irritability is a common symptom experienced by individuals with various mental health disorders. It can be indicative of underlying issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder and more. Understanding the connection between irritability and other mental health disorders can help individuals better identify their symptoms and seek appropriate treatment.

Bipolar Disorder and Irritability

Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme shifts in mood, energy levels, and behaviour. These shifts can range from mania to depression and often include periods of irritability or anger.

In the manic phase, individuals may appear agitated, have trouble sleeping and experience a decreased need for sleep. During the depressive phase, individuals may feel hopeless about their future and exhibit signs of irritability due to their low mood.

Here are more links between Irritability and bipolar disorder:

  • Fluctuating emotions that lead to unpredictable outbursts of anger or frustration
  • Rapid changes in mood that leave individuals feeling exhausted and frustrated
  • Increased sensitivity to criticism or perceived rejection resulting in increased irritability
  • Difficulty regulating emotions due to instability in neural pathways
  • Impulsive behaviours or decisions that can lead to further distress.

Schizophrenia and Irritability

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by disturbances in thought processes and behaviour. Individuals with schizophrenia may experience an inability to think clearly, delusions, or hallucinations that can lead to feelings of irritability. Additionally, individuals may also experience social withdrawal due to fear of judgement or persecution from others, leading to further isolation and frustration.

Here are more links between Irritability and Schizophrenia:

  • Disorganized thinking that leads to difficulty communicating effectively
  • Suspiciousness or paranoia about people’s intentions towards them
  • Feelings of helplessness due to lack of control over their thoughts and emotions
  • Difficulty understanding the meaning behind everyday events due to disruptions in communication pathways
  • Heightened sensitivity due to difficulty managing sensory overload.

Dementia and Irritability

Dementia is a general term used to describe a decline in cognitive abilities, including memory and reasoning. As individuals with dementia experience declines in their ability to remember things or process information, they may become easily frustrated or irritated. Additionally, changes in the brain can also lead to an inability to control emotions which can contribute to outbursts of frustration that can leave the individual feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

Here are more links between Irritability and dementia:

  • Disorientation or confusion due to difficulty understanding instructions
  • Episodes of anger due to frustration with tasks becoming increasingly difficult
  • Difficulty expressing thoughts due to language difficulties caused by cognitive deterioration
  • Increased sensitivity due to altered perception of reality
  • Repetitive questioning due to confusion or memory loss.

5 Ways Antidepressants Help With Irritability?

Antidepressants are a common treatment for many mental health disorders, including those associated with irritability. Antidepressants work to restore balance in the brain by targeting neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine that can be affected by depression and anxiety. Here are five ways antidepressants can help alleviate symptoms of irritability:

1. Improved Mood

Antidepressants can help to improve mood and reduce feelings of irritability by increasing levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with regulating emotions. This helps to level out mood fluctuations and provides individuals with greater emotional stability, leading to improved overall well-being.

2. Reduced Anxiety

Antidepressants can also be helpful to reduce the symptoms of anxiety that can lead to irritability. By targeting chemicals in the brain responsible for regulating stress responses, antidepressants can help to lessen feelings of panic or worry and improve the ability to cope with life’s challenges more effectively.

3. Improved Concentration

By improving focus and concentration, antidepressants can also help individuals manage irritability caused by difficulty concentrating. By boosting levels of norepinephrine and dopamine, antidepressants can help to improve alertness and focus while reducing feelings of restlessness or impatience.

4. Enhanced Motivation

Antidepressants can also assist to restore motivation, which is often decreased in individuals who are irritable due to feeling overwhelmed or exhausted. By elevating levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters, antidepressants can provide a needed boost of energy that can increase the individual’s ability to engage in activities and find enjoyment in them once again.

5. Improved Sleep Quality

Finally, improved sleep quality is one of the most beneficial effects that antidepressants have on those suffering from irritability caused by poor sleep. By restoring the body’s natural sleep-wake cycles, antidepressants can help individuals get better quality rest and wake feeling more refreshed and energized. This improved sleep can reduce feelings of irritability due to fatigue or exhaustion.

By targeting specific neurotransmitters in the brain, antidepressants have been shown to be an effective treatment for reducing symptoms of irritability caused by a variety of conditions, including depression, anxiety, ADHD and dementia.

9 Amazing Tips For Dealing With Irritability When Facing Depression

Depression can be a source of irritability, leading to outbursts of frustration and anger. This can cause the individual to feel overwhelmed, exhausted and helpless in their current situation.

Fortunately, there are several strategies that individuals can use to effectively manage their symptoms of depression-related irritability. Here are some tips for dealing with irritability when facing depression:

1. Decide How you Respond

Take a few moments to process difficult emotions and decide how you want to respond in order to avoid reacting out of frustration or fear. Taking a deep breath can help reduce feelings of irritability without lashing out.

Here are a few other related tips:

  • Take a few moments to process your feelings before responding
  • Avoid reacting out of fear or frustration
  • Practice deep breathing and counting to ten
  • Focus on positive thoughts and activities
  • If necessary, remove yourself from the situation temporarily in order to regain composure.

2. Engage in Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce symptoms of irritability by relieving stress. Taking regular breaks throughout the day can also provide a needed respite from challenging emotions and allow you to reset your outlook on life.

Here are a few other related tips:

  • Practice mindful meditation or yoga
  • Take regular breaks throughout the day
  • Participate in progressive muscle relaxation
  • Try listening to calming music or nature sounds
  • Take a warm bath or shower to relax the body and mind.

3. Talk to Someone You Trust

Talking with someone you trust can provide emotional support and help process difficult emotions without letting them get out of control. Connecting with a therapist, family member, or friend can be beneficial for finding new ways of coping with irritability and understanding your feelings better.

Here are a few other related tips:

  • Reach out for emotional support from a trusted source
  • Discuss difficult emotions openly and honestly
  • Explore new ways of coping with irritability
  • Gain insight into feelings and reactions.

4. Engage in Healthy Activities

Focusing on healthy activities such as physical exercise, creative pursuits, or healthy hobbies can help to improve mood and reduce stress levels. Taking the time to do something enjoyable can provide relief from symptoms of irritability while allowing you to connect with yourself and your environment.

Here are a few other related tips:

  • Make time for physical exercise
  • Pursue creative activities such as painting or writing
  • Participate in healthy hobbies that bring joy
  • Spend time in nature or in the fresh air
  • Spend quality time with positive people.

5. Create A Daily Routine

Creating and sticking to a daily routine can help bring structure into your life and provide a sense of stability. This can reduce feelings of unpredictability that often occur when dealing with depression, allowing for more effective management of symptoms such as irritability.

Here are a few other related tips:

  • Set reasonable goals each day
  • Incorporate healthy habits into daily activities
  • Take regular breaks throughout the day
  • Schedule enjoyable activities to look forward to
  • Prioritize self-care and emotional well-being.

6. Enhancing Self-Awareness

Enhancing self-awareness can provide a greater understanding of your emotions and reactions, allowing you to take steps to manage symptoms of irritability more effectively. Exploring healthy ways of responding to difficult emotions can all be beneficial in terms of managing irritability when facing depression.

Here are a few other related tips:

  • Engage in mindful reflection
  • Write down thoughts and feelings in a journal
  • Identify triggers for irritability
  • Cultivate an attitude of non-judgement towards yourself.

7. Adopt Compassionate Thinking

Adopting compassionate thinking can help bring a sense of understanding and acceptance to difficult emotions associated with irritability. Practising self-compassion when facing depression can foster more positive attitudes towards yourself, reduce feelings of isolation, and allow for greater control over symptoms.

Here are a few other related tips:

  • Practice self-compassion as opposed to self-criticism
  • Acknowledge your feelings without judgment or shame
  • Reach out for support from someone you trust
  • Forgive yourself for feeling overwhelmed or frustrated
  • Accept that it’s okay not to be okay sometimes.

8. Changing Your Thought Patterns

Changing negative thought patterns can help to improve mood and reduce feelings of irritability. By shifting your thoughts away from rumination and towards positive self-talk, you can gain control over difficult emotions and be better equipped to manage symptoms of depression.

Here are a few other related tips:

  • Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations
  • Challenge irrational beliefs or ideas that develop
  • Make a conscious effort to focus on the positives in life
  • Develop realistic goals for yourself and take small steps towards achieving them
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if needed.

9. Seek Help From Medication

Depression can sometimes be managed with the aid of medication. Consider seeking help from a mental health professional if needed.

Here are a few other related tips:

  • Talk to your doctor about possible medications for managing depression
  • Seek help from a trained mental health professional if necessary
  • Educate yourself on various treatment options available
  • Consider enrolling in therapy sessions or group activities/support groups
  • Discuss any potential side effects that may occur with taking certain medications.

These are just some of the strategies that can help to manage feelings of irritability when dealing with depression. It’s important to remember that everyone is different and what works for one person might not work for another, so it’s best to experiment with different ways of coping and find out what works best for you.

With patience and perseverance, you will be able to cope with your symptoms in more productive and constructive ways.

A Man in the Dark


Irritability is a common symptom of depression. By actively engaging in strategies such as mindful reflection, adopting compassionate thinking, changing your thought patterns, and seeking help from medication, you can better manage your symptoms and gain control over difficult emotions.

With patience and perseverance, it is possible to cope with depression in more productive and constructive ways. It’s important to remember that everyone is different and what works for one person might not work for another, so it’s best to experiment with different techniques until you find what works best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is annoyance a symptom of depression?

Yes, annoyance and irritability can be symptoms of depression. Other common signs include persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, fatigue, and changes in appetite or sleep.

What is the most common cause of irritability?

The most common cause of irritability is stress. Other potential causes such as fatigue, low self-esteem, unresolved conflicts, unhealthy lifestyle habits, and underlying medical conditions should also be considered.

Why am I always irritable and annoyed?

There can be many possible reasons for feeling irritable and annoyed. Common causes include stress, fatigue, unresolved conflicts, low self-esteem, unhealthy lifestyle habits, and underlying medical conditions.

How do I stop feeling irritable?

There are various strategies that can help to manage feelings of irritability when dealing with depression. These include mindful reflection, compassionate thinking, changing thought patterns, and seeking help from medication.

It’s important to remember that everyone is different and what works for one person might not work for another, so it’s best to experiment with different techniques until you find what works best for you. With patience and perseverance, it is possible to cope with depression in more productive and constructive ways.


Maurizio Fava (March 10, 2009). The Importance of Irritability as a Symptom of Major Depressive Disorder: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication.

Pablo Vidal-Ribas (April 1, 2020). How and why are irritability and depression linked?

Lloyd Balbuena (October 26, 2016). Mood Instability and Irritability as Core Symptoms of Major Depression: An Exploration Using Rasch Analysis.

M Fava (March 10, 2009). The importance of irritability as a symptom of major depressive disorder: results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication.

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