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December 4, 2019

New Frontiers in Irritability Research—From Cradle to Grave and Bench to Bedside

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California
  • 2Section on Mood Dysregulation and Neuroscience, Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA Psychiatry. 2020;77(3):227-228. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.3686

We all know what it’s like to be irritable. Our partners walk on eggshells around us. The slightest trigger sets us off. If there’s a punching bag nearby, it had better watch out. Irritability, defined as a low threshold for experiencing frustration or anger, is common. In the right context, irritability can be adaptive, motivating us to overcome barriers or dominate our environment. When prolonged or disproportionate, however, irritability can be counterproductive, causing us to waste our energy on maladaptive behavior.

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