Agitation: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/24/2020

Agitation can be described as a feeling of annoyance, inner tension, or restlessness. Agitation is usually perceived as a negative emotion. Many people feel agitation when provoked or when under stress at work, school, or at home. In many circumstances, agitation can be a normal reaction to stress and is not a sign of disease. It can also be a feature of certain mental health or emotional disorders such as anxiety disorders.

Depending upon the cause of the agitation, it can be associated with other symptoms, including (but not limited to)

People experiencing agitation may have problems with focusing or having a conversation and may display pacing or shuffling the feet or wringing the hands or clenching the fists. Angry outbursts, disruptive behavior, difficulty sitting still, and excessive talking or movement are all signs associated with agitation.

Other causes of agitation


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.