Frustration, Frustrated, Easily Annoyed – anxiety symptoms

Written by Jim Folk
Medically reviewed by Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated May 19, 2021

frustration anxiety symptoms

Frustration, such as easily frustrated, short-tempered, and easily annoyed is a common symptom of anxiety disorder.

This article explains the relationship between anxiety disorder and frustration.

Anxiety Frustration; Frustrated; Easily Annoyed anxiety symptom descriptions:

  • You find yourself feeling more frustrated and annoyed than normal.
  • It can also seem as if your patience runs out more quickly.
  • It can also seem like you are disappointed more quickly and more often than normal.
  • Even what would normally be considered minor issues now make you highly upset, annoyed, and angry.
  • It feels like you are overly quick to react.
  • It seems like you are more easily disappointed.
  • You find your frustration is like a hair-trigger, with any little irritant setting you off.
  • It seems like people frustrate you much more than normal.
  • It seems things upset you more than normal.
  • It seems like everything is much more frustrating than normal.

Anxiety frustration can come and go rarely, occur frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you may feel easily frustrated once in a while and not that often, feel easily frustrated off and on, or feel frustrated all the time.

Anxiety frustration may precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety sensations and symptoms, or occur by itself.

Anxiety frustration can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of nervousness, anxiety, fear, and elevated stress, or occur ‘out of the blue’ and for no apparent reason.

Anxiety frustration can range in intensity from slight, to moderate, to severe. It can also come in waves, where it’s strong one moment and eases off the next.

Anxiety frustration can change from day to day, and/or from moment to moment.

Anxiety frustration is often experienced as an 'episode' where you feel fine one moment and overly frustrated the next.

All of the above combinations and variations are common for the anxiety frustration symptom.

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What causes the anxiety frustration symptom?

Medical Advisory

Stress, including anxiety-caused stress, can make normal day-to-day challenges seem more difficult, taxing, and frustrating. Some of the reasons for this include:

1. Anxious personalities have typically learned to approach life in a highly analytical manner (how else could one avoid all of the potential pitfalls and dangers in life).

Consequently, they often think through issues and challenges quickly. When stress is in the normal range, anxious personalities can be patient with others as they analyze at a ‘less effective pace.’ But when anxiousness increases stress, anxious personalities can become more impatient with the ‘less effective pace’ of others, which can result in becoming more easily frustrated.

2. Behaving anxiously activates the stress response, and the stress response can cause a heightened sense of urgency.

This heightened sense of urgency can cause anxious personalities to want to analyze quicker and more effectively. But if others aren’t living up to your expectations of doing things more ‘quickly and effectively,’ you might become more easily frustrated with the less effective pace of others. And, as anxiousness and hyperstimulation increase, so can the urge to do things more quickly and effectively, which can cause an increasing sense of frustration.

When you combine this factor with the previous point, many anxious personalities become more easily frustrated as their anxiety and stress elevate.

3. An increase in anxiety and stress often causes an increase in impatience.

As impatience increases, so can frustration.

4. Hyperstimulation can also cause overly dramatic emotional responses.

A great many, if not all, anxious personalities go by their emotions and feelings a lot. So when the messages they receive are amplified, they typically respond to them in an amplified way. The more hyperstimulated their bodies become, the more reactive and emotional they become. As emotional reactions increase, so can frustration.

5. Hyperstimulation can cause emotional instability.

Elevated stress, such as that from stress-response hyperstimulation, can cause emotions to become erratic, unstable, and unpredictable.

For example, many anxiety disorder sufferers experience emotional blunting (no emotions, flat emotions, emotionless), flipping (suddenly going from one mood to another), or spiking (super emotional - sorrowful, fearful, excited, depressed) as their hyperstimulation increases.

As emotions become erratic and unpredictable, many people become concerned and troubled about them. This additional concern causes more stimulation and emotional instability, which can cause an increase in frustration, as well.

6. Overly dramatic emotional responses and emotional instability further stress the body, which can lead to even higher levels of hyperstimulation.

Consequently, another negative cycle can ensue: hyperstimulation causes stimuli to become amplified - amplified messages cause emotional overreaction - emotional overreaction and concern about emotional overreaction cause further hyperstimulation - further hyperstimulation causes further amplification, and so on. As hyperstimulation increases, so can impatience and frustration.

(Recovery Support members can learn more reasons under the ‘Frustration’ symptom in Symptoms chapter (Chapter 9) in the Recovery Support area.)

Yes, stress-response hyperstimulation can cause everyday situations and circumstances to seem more irritating, frustrating, and stressful. This is a common consequence associated with a struggle with problematic anxiety.

Nevertheless, understanding this phenomenon can provide an important key to recovery, as well as eliminating the anxiety frustration symptom.

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How to get rid of the anxiety frustration symptom?

Reducing your body’s hyperstimulated state so that it can return to normal health should be your number one goal. As your body returns to normal, non-hyperstimulated health, it functions normally, which reduces impatience and frustration.

Keep in mind that it can take a long time for the body to recover from the negative effects of abnormal stress once the body becomes stress-response hyperstimulated. We have to persevere with our recovery strategies in spite of the lack of apparent progress and remain patient as the body works toward recovery.

It’s also important to deal with your anxiety issues so that your body can recover from stress-response hyperstimulation. Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to identify and successfully address the many underlying factors are the root of problematic anxiety.

(Recovery Support members can receive a more detailed answer under the ‘Frustration’ symptom in the Symptoms chapter (Chapter 9) in the Recovery Support area).

Short-term strategies for frustration anxiety:

Even though lasting success only comes about by addressing Level Two recovery, there are some short-term strategies that can alleviate some of anxiety’s common symptoms, such as a heightened sense of frustration. For example:

Taking frequent rest and relaxation breaks, as well as getting good sleep, can help reduce irritability, impatience, and frustration. Moreover, if you find yourself becoming frustrated, you may want to take a break from the interaction and go for a walk to cool down. Anything you can do to keep your emotions in check will help to prevent unwanted emotional outbursts and the stress they can cause the body and others.

Furthermore, dealing with your unrealistic expectations can also help reduce irritability, impatience, and frustration. Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way of addressing the underlying factors of anxiety, including the behaviors unrealistic expectations and impatience.

Also, resting the body and getting good sleep can help stabilize raw emotions. Emotional stability can buffer against irritability and frustration.

Last, it can also help to let family members know you are having some difficulty with anxiety-related frustration and that you are working on it. Sometimes an apology and this understanding alone can help others better understand what you are dealing with, which can make your situation easier.

For a more detailed explanation about all anxiety symptoms, why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have many chapters that address this information in the Recovery Support area of our website.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

Return to our anxiety disorders signs and symptoms page. Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including Frustration, Frustrated anxiety symptoms.