Why Am I Crying For No Reason?

Updated May 23, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Content Warning: Please be advised, the below article might mention trauma-related topics that include suicide which could be triggering to the reader. If you or someone you love is having suicidal thoughts, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. Free, private support is available 24/7. Please also see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

If you burst into tears seemingly out of nowhere, you may wonder why. It could be possible that you don't want to cry or aren't feeling a level of emotion that would typically prompt tears for you, causing confusion.  

Perhaps you're starting to notice other symptoms alongside unexplained crying that are causing unease. It could be a one-time event or an ongoing occurrence. If it seems that you're crying for no reason, there may be a reason that you're not picking up on.

If Unexpected Emotional Responses Have You Concerned, We Can Help

Why Do I Cry For No Reason?

It can be natural to cry. However, if you find yourself experiencing unexpected crying, or if you can't stop crying for what seems like no reason, it may make sense to want to understand why. There are a few potential causes for these tears. 


Depression may be one motivator for tears that seem to come from nowhere. People who live with depression can have feelings of sadness that persist for days, weeks, months, or years. Depression may cause bursts of sadness or a feeling that you need to cry. 

Depression can be situational and temporary or specific to an incident or scenario. Those diagnosed with clinical depression may feel emptiness, emotional numbness, or other ongoing symptoms. 

Excessive crying or bursts of crying are possible and often recognized symptoms of depression. Other potential symptoms of depression can include:

  • Feeling down, low, or having a depressed mood

  • Changes in sleep schedule or ability to sleep 

  • Irritability 

  • Differences in appetite

  • Trouble focusing 

  • Social withdrawal 

  • Loss of interest in activities 

If you have persistent feelings of sadness, despair, impending danger, anger, fatigue, or imagined scenarios of self-harm, seek help from a registered medical provider like a primary care physician or psychologist. 

If you or someone you love has thoughts of suicide or harming themselves, help is available immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free support to those in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They can be reached by calling 1.800.273.TALK (8255) or via online chat. You may also text 988 to connect with someone through text. 

For those with an immediate risk of hurting themselves or others, call your local emergency number or visit a doctor in your nearest emergency room.

Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Many people who menstruate may experience an increase in crying and other markers of stress before their menstrual period due to rapidly fluctuating hormones and other factors.

These menstruation symptoms may be particularly severe for those living with diagnosed or undiagnosed premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which can be considered a form of depression. If you're able to track your cycle, it may be helpful as a tool for anticipating symptoms of PMS and how they might affect you. 

In addition, those who are experiencing pregnancy may be aware of the potential effects of post-partum depression (PPD). PPD can also impact pregnant individuals and non-birthing parents before a baby is born.  

Physical Stimuli

If you find yourself crying for no reason one time, or if what you're noticing is more like watery, runny eyes than streaming tears, it could be that your eyes are dry. This dryness could be due to the time of year, the corresponding weather, or something like dirt in the eye. 

Weather-related tears may not be something to be concerned about. You may have allergies or sensitivities. When your eyes are dry, they might create more tears to combat the dryness, which some experts call reflex crying. There are three types of tears, and reflex tears are one of them. 

Pseudobulbar Affect

The pseudobulbar affect, frequently abbreviated to PBA, may cause frequent bouts of laughing or crying that seem to come out of nowhere. It can be common in those who live with neurological disorders that affect the brain, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, or Alzheimer's. However, it can also impact those who have had a stroke or live with other medical concerns, like Parkinson's disease. 

With PBA, the crying does not align with your emotions, and you may be unable to control your facial muscles. If you experience crying spells that don't align with your feelings, it may be something to investigate with a medical provider in case of any neurological conditions or other underlying issues.


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 therapeutic response to stress. Still, ongoing stress may not feel good. It may be beneficial to find the sources of your stress and lessen or eliminate them, if possible. 

At times, it may not be possible to eradicate the source of your stress. However, you may be able to find healthy ways to relieve and manage stress, such as exercise, mindfulness, art, or therapy. Individual therapy can address various health conditions, like trauma, depression, guilt, shame, mood swings, addiction, anxiety, bipolar disorder, uncertainty in daily life, grief, and many other concerns.  

If complicated relationships within your family cause your stress, you may try family therapy. Relationship or couples therapy may also be worthwhile if you are struggling with a romantic partner.

How To Cope With Unexpected Crying Responses

How you deal with or cope with stress in daily life may be determined by your previous life experiences. Wellness professionals often believe biological factors or gender differences (like a generational history of depression) can also increase the likelihood of depression. 

Regardless of the reason for crying, you're not alone, even if it seems for no apparent reason. Crying can be healthy, and if an underlying cause or contributor is there, it may be worth it to you to address it.  

Additionally, whether face-to-face or online, mental health therapy or psychiatry can be an invaluable service that may aid you in pinpointing the root of crying and other physical symptoms. It can help you develop healthy coping strategies to use in your daily life. You may learn new tactics to support you in therapy, such as meditation, breathing exercises, or journaling.

If Unexpected Emotional Responses Have You Concerned, We Can Help

If you need someone to talk to about stress, depression, anxiety, unexplained crying, or another concern, reaching out to an online counselor or therapist may help. 

Peer-reviewed research and studies by the Berkeley Well-Being Institute found that people in online therapy significantly reduced their depression symptoms through their treatment. Online therapy is also often more affordable than in-person counseling. 

It can be normal to feel frustrated by life's challenges, and your therapist may help you examine the facts of your life to make positive progress. If you want to reach out for support, consider signing up for a platform like BetterHelp for individuals or ReGain for couples. 


Life can be challenging, and you're not alone if you're emotionally overwhelmed or experiencing bouts of tears. Crying for no apparent reason may not be a sign of something wrong. However, knowing if there's a source can help you find ways to feel better. Consider reaching out to a counselor if you're ready to learn more.

You Don’t Have To Face Depression Alone. Our Experienced Counselors Can Help.

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