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Argyris Stringaris

and Eric Taylor

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date: 11 December 2019

Irritability can be defined as a state of proneness to anger. This chapter takes that definition as a starting point and attempts will be made to extend or sharpen it. Irritability, here and in the wider psychiatric and psychological literature, is taken to refer to an emotionally coloured state. However, it is unclear whether irritability should be considered as a mood, an emotion, or a temperamental disposition. Irritability is often used synonymously with terms such as anger, mood instability, or mood dysregulation. In this chapter the origins of some of these terms and their overlap with each other are discussed, together with the often-implicit theoretical assumptions underlying the term ‘dysregulation’ and how this influences clinical accounts and research plans. The chapter ends by presenting a heuristic schema to accommodate the terms within the major current theories about mood and emotion.

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