Why Might You Be Crying for No Reason? (2024)

There are many reasons why we cry. If you find yourself seemingly crying for no reason, it may worry you. However, there is often a logical, underlying reason for your tears. For instance, crying easily might be a symptom of depression or it might simply be due to fluctuating hormones such as might happen before your monthly period.

In very rare instances, unexplained crying could be related to a brain injury or neurological disorder, but often it is nothing serious and may pass as easily as it came.

This article explores some of the reasons why you might cry for seemingly no reason. It also discusses when to seek help and how to cope.

Why Might You Be Crying for No Reason? (1)

What Causes Crying for No Reason?

Here is why you might be crying more than usual.

Depression

Depression can cause a host of symptoms, including:

  • Sleep troubles
  • Appetite changes
  • Concentration issues
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Bodily aches and pains
  • Hopelessness
  • Suicidal ideation

Depression is common, and symptoms can differ from person to person. Some people may experience episodes of seemingly unexplained crying. Others may find themselves crying more than usual.

An Overview of Depression

Anxiety

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with depression are more likely to suffer from other conditions, such as anxiety disorders.

Anxiety is a complex state characterized by intense worry, panic, and fear in anticipation of perceived danger and is often accompanied by other physical and cognitive symptoms.

People with anxiety may feel overwhelmed and more likely to cry over seemingly mundane things.

Bipolar Disorder

People with bipolar disorder have extreme highs and lows. Along with these unpredictable mood swings may come outbursts of emotion, including crying.

Not everyone with bipolar has the same ratio of highs and lows. There are two main types of bipolar:

  • Bipolar Iinvolves manic episodes lasting at least a week and may be accompanied by separate periods of depressive episodes. Some people with this bipolar also experience manic and depressive symptoms simultaneously.
  • Bipolar IIinvolves periods of depression and hypomania, where the highs are not as severe as in bipolar I.

Some people may have symptoms of bipolar disorder but don’t fit neatly into these categories.

Hormones

Your tears are made up of more than water and salt. There is some evidence that emotional tears (in contrast to tears formed in response to things like yawning) contain substances like hormones and prolactin.

Hormonal changes may explain why some people seem to cry for no reason. Sometimes, hormone changes are expected. People who are pregnant, for example, may find themselves crying more easily. The flood of hormones due to pregnancy is typical.

Other times, hormonal changes that lead to crying are part of an underlying condition, like premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD can cause:

  • Crying out of nowhere
  • Excessive crying
  • Moodiness, depression, and anxiety
  • Appetite changes
  • Bloating, cramping
  • Headaches and body aches

The onset of the disorder typically happens about a week or so before menstruation. Symptoms usually subside during menstruation.

Some people may also feel more emotional while menstruating because of hormone changes.

How Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) Is Treated

Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA)

Neurological disease can also cause crying for no reason. When crying results from a brain disorder, there is no reason for it aside from the physical condition.

PBA is a symptom of many neurological diseases, including:

  • Brain injury
  • Brain tumor
  • Dementia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke

People with PBA can also experience other random emotional outbursts, including anger. Rapid changes in emotions are also possible.

For example, going from anger to laughing instantly can happen in people with PBA. These emotional episodes are typically very short-lived.

Living With Pseudobulbar Affect

How to Get Help

If you think your expressions of emotion are out of the norm or excessive, you should speak to a medical or mental health professional.

If you are crying for no reason and find that it interferes with your regular activities, don’t hesitate to seek help.

Treatments for depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental health conditions may include:

  • Therapy
  • Medication
  • Support groups
  • Neurotherapeutics
  • Complementary therapies, including mindfulness and exercise

Often, medical professionals will recommend a combination of therapies for maximum effect.

Get Help If You Are in Crisis

If you have thoughts of harming yourself or others, seek help immediately. Call a loved one, or friend, or dial 988 to contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and connect with a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

How to Cope

There are several ways to cope with mental illness. Seeking professional help is the first step.

A professional can help you determine the best treatment option—whether that includes medication, therapy, mindfulness techniques, or a combination.

Some people may find it helpful to join a support group.

If you have PBA, you may struggle to deal with your symptoms. The American Stroke Association suggests the following coping mechanisms:

  • Open communication: Telling others about your PBA will help minimize confusion during an episode.
  • Distraction: If an episode seems imminent, distraction may help minimize symptoms.
  • Changing position: Altering your posture or position may help control episodes.
  • Deep breathing: Breathing exercises may also help you get through an episode.

If you frequently cry because you're feeling overwhelmed, it is important to adopt time management strategies. If you can, offload some of your work to your colleagues and don't be afraid to say "no" to new projects if you feel you won't have time for them.

Summary

Although you may feel as if you are crying for "no reason," most episodes of uncontrollable emotion have some sort of underlying cause. You may be experiencing depression, anxiety, or another mental health condition such as bipolar disorder. Hormones and neurological disease are also possible culprits.

If you have frequent bouts of crying and you don't know the cause, it's important to see a mental health professional. They can help you identify the cause of your crying and develop strategies for treating it.

7 Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. National Alliance on Mental Illness.Depression.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Mental health conditions: Depression and anxiety.

  3. National Institute of Mental Health.Bipolar disorder.

  4. Mukamal R.All about emotional tears. American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  5. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

  6. Nabizadeh F, Nikfarjam M, Azami M, Sharifkazemi H, Sodeifian F. Pseudobulbar affect in neurodegenerative diseases: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Neurosci. 2022;100:100-107. doi:10.1016/j.jocn.2022.04.009

  7. American Stroke Association.Pseudobulbar affect (PBA).

Why Might You Be Crying for No Reason? (2)

By Steph Coelho
Steph Coelho is a freelance health and wellness writer and editor with nearly a decade of experience working on content related to health, wellness, mental health, chronic illness, fitness, sexual wellness, and health-related tech.She's written extensively about chronic conditions, telehealth, aging, CBD, and mental health. Her work has appeared in Insider, Healthline, WebMD, Greatist, Medical News Today, and more.

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