Are You Crying for No Reason? Find Out the Possible Causes

By Sarah Fader |Updated August 1, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Rashonda Douthit , LCSW
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If you burst into tears seemingly out of nowhere, you’ll likely wonder, “Why am I crying for no reason?” You’re full of emotion, or so it seems, and you can’t seem to put your finger on the cause. Maybe, you don’t want to cry or aren’t feeling a level of emotion that would typically prompt tears for you and are truly stumped. Perhaps you’re starting to notice other symptoms alongside unexplained crying that are causing unease. It could be a one-off event, or it could be an ongoing occurrence. Rest assured that, regardless, there is most likely a reason. Though it’s crucial to see a medical provider provider or online therapist when you experience a symptom that could be indicative of a medical or mental health concern, one of the following possible explanations might just act as a clue what’s going on.

Why Do I Cry For No Reason?

First, it’s natural to cry. If you find yourself experiencing unexpected crying for what seems like no reason, though, it makes sense to want to get to the bottom of it. Possible causes of seemingly random or unexplained or uncontrollable crying for no reason might include but aren’t restricted to:

  • Depression

One of the most common reasons someone may cry for what could seem like no reason is depression. People who live with depression can have feelings of hopelessness and sadness that persist for days, weeks, months, or even years. Depression may be situational and temporary, specific to an incident or scenario, and those with clinical depression may feel emotionally numb and empty or experience other ongoing symptoms. Excessive crying (which may come out in crying spells, etc.), is a possible and recognized symptom of depression. A down, low, or depressed mood, changes in sleep, irritability, differences in appetite, trouble focusing, social withdrawal, and loss of interest in activities are other potential symptoms. If you have persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, impending danger, anger, exhaustion, or feelings or actions of self-harm, it’s important to seek help from a registered medical provider like a primary care physician or psychiatrist if you notice these signs.

If you or someone you love has thoughts of suicide or of harming themselves, it’s vital to seek help right away. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential support to those in need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can be reached by calling 1.800.273.TALK (8255) or via online chat. For those with an immediate risk of hurting themselves or others, it’s important to get help immediately by calling your local emergency number or seeing a doctor in your nearest emergency room.

  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Many people who menstruate may experience an increase in crying and other markers of stress prior to the start of their period due to rapidly fluctuating hormones and other factors. This is often a symptom of premenstrual syndrome for a woman. These menstruation symptoms may be particularly severe for those living with diagnosed or undiagnosed premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). If you’re able to track your cycle, it may be helpful because you will know what to expect and when to expect symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and how it may affect you. In addition, those who experiencing pregnancy and are expecting a baby should be aware of the potential effects of postpartum depression.

  • Physical Stimuli

If the crying is once-off, or if what you’re noticing is more like watery, runny eyes than it is actual tears, it could be that your eyes are dry. This could be due to the time of year and the corresponding weather, or something like dirt in the eye could set it off. This is nothing to be concerned about, typically. When your eyes are dry, they may create more tears to combat the dryness, which some experts call reflex crying. There are three types of tears, and this is one of them.

  • Pseudobulbar Affect

The pseudobulbar affect, which is frequently abbreviated to PBA, causes frequent bouts of laughing or crying that come out of nowhere. It’s most common in those who live with neurological disorders that affect the brain such as ALS, TBI, MS, or Alzheimer’s/dementia, but it can also impact those who have had a stroke or who live with other medical concerns, like Parkinson's disease. With PBA, the crying that occurs does not align with your emotions, and you may not be able to control your facial muscles. If you experience crying spells that don’t align with your feelings (i.e., you cry, but you don’t feel stressed and aren’t overwhelmed or sad or blue), this may be something to look into with a medical provider for any neurological conditions or other underlying issues.

  • Overwhelm/Burnout

Are you encountering significant stress or feelings of anxiety? If so, this could relate to the crying episodes you face. While stress can harm the body in various ways, medically reviewed articles claim crying is healthy and can be a restorative response to stress. Still, ongoing stress isn’t a good thing; it can help to find the source(s) of your stress and lessen or eliminate it/them if possible. Sometimes, it’s not possible to eradicate the source(s) of your stress, but you can likely find healthy ways to relieve and manage stress such as exercise, practicing mindfulness, art, or therapy. Individual therapy can address a wide array of health conditions, like stress, trauma, depression, emptiness, guilt, shame, mood swings, addiction, anxiety, bipolar disorder, uncertainty in daily life, as well as grief. If your stress is caused by difficult relationships within your family or child, you may try family therapy. Relationship or couples therapy may also be worthwhile if you are enduring a period of difficulty with a romantic partner.

How To Cope

The way you deal or cope with stress in daily life can be largely affected by your previous life experiences. Wellness and wellbeing professionals believe biological factors or gender differences (for example, if someone in your family has experienced depression) can also increase the likelihood of depression. The empowering news is that there are effective treatment options available, such as online therapy. Peer-reviewed research and studies by the Berkeley Well-Being Institute found that people in online therapy significantly reduced their depression symptoms.

Regardless of the reason for crying, even if it seems for no apparent reason, it isn’t something you have to keep to yourself. There is nothing wrong with crying, and if an underlying cause or contributor is there, it’s worth it to address it. Additionally, mental health therapy or psychiatry, whether face-to-face or online is an invaluable service that may aid you in pinpointing the root of crying and other physical symptoms and provide healthy coping strategies to use in your daily life. You are likely to learn other tactics and tips that can support you being in a better mental place, like meditation, breathing exercises, or journaling.

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Find Help Now Through BetterHelp Online Therapy

If you need someone to talk to about stress, depression, anxiety, unexplained crying, or something else, reaching out to a counselor or therapist may be able to help. BetterHelp lets you access quality mental health therapy from licensed, independent providers online. Not only is online therapy through BetterHelp a more affordable option when compared to the cost of many face-to-face services for many mental health conditions in the United States, but the registration process and ability to manage settings unique to your needs is fast and easy. You don't have to worry about driving to an office setting when you might already be tired from the day. And therapy is a more effective way to make progress that consulting with a friend for feedback on your life.

A licensed counselor or therapist can provide professional help and help you understand a lot of your feelings and cope with problems in your life while learning effective strategies to protect your mental and behavioral health, so don’t hesitate to take initiative and take the first step today. It's okay to feel frustrated by life's challenges, and your therapist will help you study the facts of your life to make positive progress.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is It Normal To Cry Daily?

Under extreme amounts of stress, or due to other concerns, it may be normal for a person to cry once a day. This is an expected response, but we can’t undergo this level of stress for long before it starts to have some consequences like emotional outbursts. If you notice that you are crying for no apparent reason daily for an extended period or weeks on end, there could be something else wrong going on. You may be experiencing this as a result of an anxiety disorder, depression, or another mental health-related matter. Everyone has emotions and feelings, and it’s positive to feel them, but when they get so overwhelming that you can’t seem to breathe or you’re crying for no reason daily for weeks, that could be a sign that something deeper is going on. Remember that all emotions are valid and okay, but if you feel like your emotions are so overwhelming that they’re impacting your ability to function for weeks, it could be a sign of a mental illness or something else, so it’s important to discuss this with a licensed therapist. A mental health professional can help you explore your emotions, make sense of them and provide coping strategies (like focusing on your breaths) that you can use to improve your mental and behavioral health.

What Is A Nervous Breakdown?

A nervous breakdown is when you experience a significant period of distress where you can’t function or perform as you typically would. The symptoms could include depression, anxiety, and extreme levels of stress. You may also experience insomnia, hallucinations, headaches, or have irritability, or other emotions. Many express that it feels overtaking and unmanageable. Not caring for your behavioral health can lead to symptoms like those of a nervous breakdown. It is important to have a support system and do what you can to ensure self-care and adequate rest. This is not a medical term or diagnosis, but such overwhelm to your mind and body is a very real problem that requires attention, and with care, you can return to feeling like yourself. People may indeed undergo signs like uncontrollable or unexpected crying when in this state.

What Triggers Crying?

Crying for no reason may come on when you experience strong emotions such as sadness, anger, hopelessness, pain, or grief or have a relevant experience that may make you cry such as a death in the family, a breakup, or a funeral. Some people cry when they’re extremely happy as well as when they’re upset or overwhelmed. Healthline media and other sources claim people who live with depression may experience crying more because they’re overwhelmed with their feelings, and their body’s reaction is to let them out. Note that people with depression may also feel numb and not cry at all. Symptomatically, depressive disorders vary from person to person. Certain neurological conditions in the brain may even trigger unexplained crying.

Can Crying For No Reason Be Good For One’s Health?

While uncontrollable crying can lead to extreme depression for a person, crying to release grief from the loss of a loved one or other emotions from your body can be good for your mental health. When you cry, you release chemicals that make you feel good and relieve pain. In addition, crying can lead to emotional balancing. So, the answer is yes! Crying is a healthy and often relief-inducing thing to do when in a low mood. So much so, in fact, that in some parts of the world, people hold authoritative experiences with crying events.

Conclusion

Life can be challenging, and if you’re emotionally overwhelmed or experiencing anxiety and having bouts of tears, it’s okay to reach out for help. You'll be relieved when you see how easy it is. Crying for no reason isn’t a sign that there’s something wrong with you but knowing the source of your pain can help you heal.

Here are some reviews of providers on the BetterHelp website who have assisted patients with similar concerns through methods like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (DBT).

Therapist Reviews

“I’ve only met with Tonya once so far, but what really stood out to me was the fact that she gave me a safe space to just cry. And that meant everything to me!!! She gave me a different perspective on a few issues I was struggling with, which allowed me to see myself and the situations in a different light. I plan on continuing to see her for as long as I can. Thanks Tonya!!”

“I put off finding a therapist for a long time. I dreaded my first conversation with Neil and all the awkward, clunky explanations I’d have to give about my depression and anxiety. All of the things that felt like dirty little secrets that caused me so much pain. But I was so pleasantly surprised by the way Neil accurately picked up on what I was saying and gave me more insight into how my brain was working. It made my issue feel so much less of a personal problem and more of a universal problem we could examine together. He always gives me a thoughtful response within a day or two any time I send a message. I actually think we’ve made more progress in between sessions just by being able to communicate things that are coming up in real time. Neil is intelligent and kind. I really appreciate his communication style and highly recommend him.”

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Contact BetterHelp

For more information on where to find a therapist that can help you with your anxiety after a break-up, trauma, a difficult time in your life, changing careers, or uncontrollable crying, you can reach out to contact@betterhelp.com. You can also find us on LinkedIn, Twitter, InstagramFacebook, & YouTube or find us in a content ad.

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