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Body

Reasons why you may be angry

How your physical health can affect your mental wellbeing

By Donna Fleming
If you’re feeling unusually grumpy, it might not just be down to lack of sleep or the pressures of everyday life. There could be a medical reason for your bad mood.
Overactive thyroid
Having hyperthyroidism, where your overactive thyroid gland makes too much of the hormone, produces a variety of symptoms, including mood swings. Other signs include fatigue, restlessness, increased sweating, difficulty concentrating and intolerance to heat.
Blood sugar imbalance
Low blood sugar can lead to an imbalance of brain chemicals, including serotonin, which controls mood. Low levels can result in aggression, anger, confusion, restlessness and panic attacks – as well as sweating, shaking, blurred vision, dizziness and confusion. To avoid this, steer clear of refined carbohydrates such as sweets, pastries, fruit juices and white bread. Stick to wholegrains, protein and vegetables.
Food intolerance
Some people who have an intolerance to substances such as casein – found in dairy – and gluten, may suffer from mood swings, irritability and anxiety, as well as physical symptoms such as bloating and abdominal discomfort. Removing foods containing these substances from your diet may improve symptoms.
Cholesterol medication
A US study found that some people taking statins for high cholesterol noticed a huge improvement in their moods when they came off the drugs. One theory is that low cholesterol levels brought about by statins also cause a drop in the “happiness hormone” serotonin, which makes it harder to control anger. Statins have also been associated with depression. If you are prescribed statins and controlling your anger is an issue, you shouldn’t just stop taking them – talk to your doctor about the possibility of changing the dose.
Alzheimer's
Irritability and uncharacteristic outbursts of anger can be signs of Alzheimer’s, along with memory lapses and confusion. As the disease progresses, aggressive behaviour can get worse, even in people who were always very calm and even-tempered before getting sick. This is because Alzheimer’s can affect the part of the brain responsible for personality.
Liver conditions
According to ancient medicine, the liver is linked to the emotion of anger so it may come as no surprise that several liver conditions are associated with aggressiveness. Cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis can lead to a condition called hepatic encephalopathy, resulting in personality changes.
Sleeping pills
Drugs used to help people sleep may make some users more prone to aggressive outbursts. Benzodiazepines taken at higher doses can have affects similar to alcohol, including making you excessively drowsy, but also increasing mood swings and fuelling anger.

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