Everyone has felt agitated from time to time and it’s perceived to be a natural reaction to circumstances that happen in our daily lives. But how many of us take the time to understand the root cause of agitation and explore why we actually get agitated in the first place? This article will look at the real causes behind agitation, associated behaviour and symptoms, and ways we can better manage ourselves when in an agitated state.   

What is Agitation?

Agitation can be an experience of intense emotional distress that often includes persistent anxiety, irritability, and restlessness. It is usually accompanied by physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat and sweating. In some cases, it can even lead to violent behaviours.

Agitation is a complex and uncomfortable yet understandable experience that can have different expressions and is characterized by elevated emotions and lessened coping skills, which often lead to physical, verbal, or cognitive responses to a situation or event. It occurs in response to frustration or discomfort caused by a traumatic event or stressful situation. It can affect people of all ages and backgrounds and may cause them to act out in behaviours that are disproportionate to the given situation.

What Causes Agitation?

Agitation is a state of unrest or distress that can range in severity from mild to extreme. It is a common symptom of a variety of health concerns that are often linked to underlying mental health issues such as depression and anxiety disorders. A person may find themselves in an agitated state due to substance abuse or withdrawal, physical illnesses or pain, through the sue of certain drugs used in treatments such as Parkinson’s disease or simply, when feeling anxious. Other causes include the following:

  • Biological -may include stress-related hormones, inflammation, or changes in the brain’s chemistry.
  • Psychological – triggers could include traumatic memories, anxiety, depression, or other negative emotional states.
  • Environmental – could include physical overexertion from work or activities, a lack of sleep or restful activities, strong smells or sounds that make it difficult to relax, or exposure to someone who is feeling agitated themselves.

With some self-reflection and awareness of your emotions, it is possible to connect back to the origin and move forward with strategies for dealing with it effectively.

How Does Someone Behave When Agitated?

When someone is agitated, it may become difficult for them to control their behaviour. Therefore, they may display a wide range of behaviours. These behaviours may include pacing about, fidgeting, speaking at a rapid pace or in a raised volume, issuing unreasonable requests and threats, expressing aggression towards other individuals or damaging objects in their vicinity. They may decline to comply with guidance offered by others, becoming emotionally volatile or easily frustrated, and display signs of paranoia or believing thoughts that are not based in reality.

What is the cause of the agitation you feel

Examples of agitated behaviour can range from an inability to sit still, increased levels of energy to yelling, swearing, and having rapidly-paced speech. People can react with aggressive acts towards people or objects, repetitive movements such as hand-wringing or hair-pulling, and more. All of these manifestations can cause serious distress for both the person in distress and those around them.

Is Stress a Contributory Factor to Agitation?

It is important to recognize the connection between stress and agitation, as learning ways to manage stress can help reduce the likelihood of becoming agitated. However, it is also important to note that it can often precede increased levels of stress, so learning how to recognize the signs and addressing them early on may prevent some episodes from occurring in the first place. The effects of stress on mental health are well-established and we know that this can lead to burnout in some individuals, both in physical and emotional terms.

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When someone is under a great deal of emotional or physical pressure, their body produces hormones that increase their heart rate, blood pressure, and energy levels. This can lead to an agitated state if the person cannot find a healthy way to process or release these feelings. Our modern lifestyle has brought with it many sources of potential tension and conflicts, all of which can lead to prolonged periods of distress which eventually manifest as levels of agitation if left unresolved.

Too much stress, or even a small amount over a sustained period, can increase feelings of frustration and unease. This can lead to physical coping mechanisms such as aggression, impulsive behaviour, or restlessness. Stress can also have serious consequences on our cognitive abilities, which can make it harder to maintain control when faced with challenging situations.

Stopping Feelings of Agitation

When trying to manage these feelings, learning how to stop the feelings is important for mental and emotional well-being. It begins by assessing and determining the cause, which could range from trauma to stress and anxiety due to work or home obligations. Once the underlying cause has been identified, steps can be taken to reduce or eliminate it. A targeted action plan can help reduce the severity of these feelings.

An action plan can be formulated that includes stress reduction activities such as yoga, meditation, and regular exercise can be beneficial in reducing tension; seeking additional support from a therapist or counsellor may also be part of this plan. In addition, it is important to avoid triggers and rely on family and friends for encouragement during difficult times. Taking proactive steps enables one to put their mind and body at ease so that they may resume normal activities without feeling overwhelmed or anxious.

Control Agitation with These Behavioural Changes

The experience of agitation can be daunting, yet certain steps may help manage the feelings. Therefore, when someone feels agitated, it is important to remember that there are ways to control their feelings and behaviours. Taking control through small changes in behaviour can have a big impact on overall well-being and mental health.

Deep breathing is one way to achieve relaxation, as it activates the body’s natural calming reflexes. Exercising mindfulness practices such as yoga or guided relaxation exercises can also be beneficial in providing a calming sensation, as they provide a sense of control and focus to aid in better-regulating agitation levels. Avoiding stressful environments and situations should also be given priority when trying to create a calm mindset.

Control Agitation with Behavioural Changes

Additionally, establishing healthy boundaries with others is key, as well as taking time to get enough rest and keeping a regular routine throughout the day can help one feel more in control and provide stability when feeling overwhelming. Finally, reducing the consumption of alcohol and caffeine can help minimize agitated feelings.

Where Can I Get Help with Feeling Agitated?

If you or someone close is having difficulty managing feelings, seeking help from a specialist is the best way to get assistance with agitation and other mood-related issues. A professional mental health expert can explore what might be driving the emotion to determine the most effective treatments designed to reduce symptoms. Therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) [1] that focuses on replacing negative emotions with more positive ones have been seen to successfully treat sufferers of continual aggravation.

Support groups, doctors, counsellors and coaches have also been known to be beneficial for those who are dealing with high levels of emotional distress. Additionally, there are many online resources available that provide advice and information as well as support systems to those dealing with agitation and other mood disorders from a wide range of individuals dealing with similar experiences.

Conquer burnout and stress

Reducing stress and recovering from burnout can be quite the challenge. With the help of our professional coaches, we are convinced that a full recovery is within reach. Our years of experience has taught us what stepping stones will help you reach your goal more effectively and how to make sure the changes you make will be of help to you for the rest of your life. Let’s turn your burnout or stress into your best life ever.


Agitation can be quite disruptive to our daily lives, and it’s important to explore each of them to understand the underlying causes when trying to determine why this emotion is present. It can have several causes ranging from biological and psychological to environmental.

All children will become agitated from time to time. However, trying to determine why your child has become suddenly agitated can be a daunting and often overwhelming task for any parent. It is important to keep in mind that numerous potential factors may be contributing to the agitation and addressing them one at a time can help bring resolution. Some of the most common catalysts behind agitation in children include stress, anxiety, and exhaustion due to school or activities or unsettled home-life.

There may be other factors such as boredom, inadequate sleep or rest-inducing activities, hunger, sickness or injury, reactions to medications or food additives, sensory overload from loud noises or bright lights, and close contact with someone who is themselves feeling distressed.

Reducing stress is essential to help lower levels of agitation that have been heightened due to situational or environmental factors. Stressful experiences can lead to the body releasing hormones that exacerbate feelings of distress and irritability; therefore, finding healthier ways to cope with stress is an important part of managing these negative emotions.

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and stretching may be helpful, as well as incorporating exercise or establishing healthier lifestyle habits including improved eating and sleeping patterns. Additionally, finding outlets for your emotions such as talking with a friend or seeking professional counselling can help you better understand the sources of your stress and learn how to better cope with them.

Agitation is a common feeling that can have multiple sources. In some cases, it may be related to fluctuations in hormone levels. Hormones can have a profound influence on our emotional well-being, which means changes to hormone levels can cause someone to feel more agitated than usual.

Unnatural elevations in hormones released during times of stress, like cortisol and adrenaline, can affect mood and mental state, resulting in increased feelings of agitation. Additionally, changes in the body’s hormone levels due to hormonal imbalances or medical conditions such as thyroid problems may also contribute to an increase in agitation.


  1. wikipedia.org – Cognitive behavioral therapy – found on 03/02/2023
    Link to page on wikipedia.org

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