Irritability can be defined as a feeling of agitation or annoyance in response to a certain stimuli. While it is common for women's irritability to be triggered short-term by certain life occurrences, such as heavy traffic and unexpected behaviors, the cause for concern arises when the irritability doesn't pass.
Continue reading to learn important facts about chronic irritability and what you can do to get back on track to a stable mood today.
What is Chronic Irritability?
Chronic irritability is when you feel irritable on a daily basis, often several times a day. There are often no identifiable triggers for your feelings of aggravation, and your mood worsens day in and day out with no apparent end.
Also, in general, chronic irritability is constant and unrelenting. It can be initiated by stimuli that may have once not bothered you before, but now they cause you ongoing distress in addition to various other symptoms of menopausal irritability.
What Causes Chronic Irritability?
While normal bouts of irritability are often circumstantial and caused by triggers, chronic irritability can most often be attributed to hormonal imbalance of estrogen as the ovaries prepare to end reproductive functions.
In general, the hormone estrogen possesses certain neuro- and psychoprotective actions. As such, lowered levels of estrogen can offset neurotransmitters in the brain and impair normal cognitive functioning, thus deregulating mood and causing irritability. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that a decline or fluctuation in estrogen negatively affects mental health for the long-term.
Other causes of chronic irritability include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, extreme stress, schizophrenia, untreated thyroid disorder, and more.
How Can I Treat Chronic Irritability?
Irritability treatments, specifically those used to treat chronic irritability caused by hormonal imbalance, embrace putting into practice certain lifestyle changes, alternative medicine, and more.
Lifestyle changes include participating in regular exercise to boost endorphins, avoiding potential triggers - smoking, excessive caffeine, alcohol, sleep deprivation, etc. - and consuming a phytoestrogenic diet to alleviate the hormonal gap.
Also, consider the use of alternative medicine. This includes various supplements known to improve mood and decrease irritability - such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, and vitamins B6 and B12 - as well as hormone-regulating supplements, like Macafem, and phytoestrogenic supplements, such as dong quai, St. John's wort, and black cohosh.
Some menopausal women might also benefit from psychotherapy or pharmaceutical treatments to find relief. Furthermore, those who suffer from chronic irritability due to other causes may wish to discuss their treatment options on a case by case basis with their doctors.
In conclusion, chronic irritability can be defined as irritability that is consistent and unrelenting. In women passing through menopause, the most common cause is due to hormonal imbalance since lowered levels of estrogen negatively affect long-term mental health. For them, treatment can start with lifestyle changes and the use of alternative medicine to alleviate the hormonal imbalance. Nevertheless, keep these facts in mind and stay curious in finding the long-lasting relief that you deserve toward better moods.
- Barth, C. et al. (2015). Sex hormones affect neurotransmitters and shape the adult female brain during hormonal transition periods. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 9, 37. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2015.00037
- Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. (n.d.). Irritability & Mood. Retrieved October 2, 2018, from https://www.semel.ucla.edu/adhdandmood/irritability-mood
- Soares, C. & Warren, M. (Eds.). (2009). The Menopausal Transition: Interface between Psychiatry and Gynecology. Switzerland: Karger. Available from Google Books.