Physical Symptoms

Why Am I Crying for No Reason?

Emma Loker, BSc Psychology

Written by

Emma Loker, BSc Psychology

Last updated January 29, 2023

Why Am I Crying for No Reason?

Crying is a natural human emotion that many different life experiences can trigger. While it is common to cry when we are sad or upset, it is also possible to cry for seemingly no reason at all.

If you have experienced this phenomenon, you may be wondering what could be causing it and how to address it. In this article, we will explore some possible causes of unexplained crying and provide tips for coping with this emotion.

So, if you have ever found yourself asking, "Why am I crying for no reason?" this article is for you.

Why Do People Cry for No Reason?

First things first, crying never happens for "no reason" - it may appear that way, but there's always a deeper reason behind any form of emotional outburst.

There are many potential causes of unexplained crying spells. In this section, we will explore some of the possible emotional causes of this phenomenon, so you can begin to understand why you may be experiencing excessive or frequent crying spells.


Shame is a complex emotion that a wide variety of life events can trigger. It can have a profound impact on our emotional well-being.

Shame may bring on unexpected crying if an individual carries a significant amount of unresolved shame which they are unaware of. When we feel shame, we may try to suppress or repress these emotions, but they can still surface unexpectedly, such as through crying.

Uncontrollable crying as a result of shame can also be a way for a person to release these difficult emotions and begin the healing process. By acknowledging and addressing their shame, a person may better understand and cope with their feelings and ultimately move forward in a more positive direction.

Feeling Empty

Feeling empty can be a difficult and unsettling experience. A sense of emptiness or a lack of meaning or purpose in life often accompanies it. This can result from various factors, including past trauma, loneliness, or a lack of fulfillment in one's personal or professional life. Anxiety can also cause feelings of detachment like this.

You may cry for seemingly no reason if you're feeling empty, as crying may be a way to express and release these difficult emotions. When we feel empty, we may not have the words to describe or understand what we are feeling, but crying can be a way to communicate these emotions in a way that may be easier to cope with.


Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that chronic stress and overworking can cause. It is often characterized by feelings of exhaustion, detachment, and a lack of accomplishment. Burnout can occur in any area of life, including work, school, and relationships.

Burnout can be a challenging and overwhelming experience, and crying can be a way for a person to cope with these emotions healthily and productively.

What's more, evidence demonstrates that, typically, we become more emotional when we are tired. We may release this through anger, irritation, or crying. This may be due to emotional exhaustion, making it harder to respond to stress the way we usually would.

Anxiety & Fear

Anxiety and fear are natural human emotions that protect us from danger and help us cope with stressful situations. However, when these emotions become excessive or persistent - such is the case with anxiety disorders - they can significantly impact a person's emotional well-being.

In these instances, uncontrollable crying may be a way for us to seek support and comfort from others. By expressing our emotions through crying, we may be able to communicate that we need help and support.

An anxiety disorder, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Social Anxiety, also affect our ability to manage our emotions, which may make emotional outbursts such as uncontrollable crying more likely.

Feeling Overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed can be a common experience when faced with a large amount of stress, responsibilities, or demands in our lives. It can leave us feeling anxious, exhausted, and unable to cope with our emotions or circumstances.

Crying can serve as a way to find some relief from these difficult emotions and pressure.

Underlying Medical Causes That May Cause Crying

While it is common to cry in response to emotions such as sadness, anger, or frustration, it is also possible to cry for no reason due to an underlying medical condition. In this section, we will explore some of the medical causes that may contribute to crying without an apparent emotional trigger.

Pseudobulbar Affect

Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) is a neurological condition that involves involuntary and inappropriate outbursts of crying or laughing. These episodes can occur in response to emotional stimuli or may occur spontaneously, seemingly for no reason at all.

PBA is caused by damage to the brainstem, which is the part of the brain that controls emotional expression. A number of conditions can cause this damage, including stroke, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and traumatic brain injury.

PBA can be an incredibly challenging condition to live with, and it can significantly impact a person's emotional well-being and overall quality of life.


Depression is a mental health condition often involving various uncomfortable feelings, including sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest in activities. It can also cause various physical and emotional symptoms, including unexplained crying.

For some people with clinical depression, crying may occur in response to specific triggers, such as adverse events or thoughts. However, it is also possible for people with depression to experience crying for seemingly no reason at all. This can result from the overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness that are characteristic of depression, even when there is no apparent cause.

Postpartum depression (also called "baby blues") may also cause mood swings and crying spells, alongside anxiety and sleeping difficulties.

Hormonal Imbalance

Hormones play a vital role in regulating our mood and emotional well-being, and when there is an imbalance, it can affect our emotional state.

For example, fluctuations in hormone levels during pregnancy and menopause can cause mood changes and unexplained crying. These changes can be due to the body's natural production of hormones, as well as the effects of hormone replacement therapy.

Thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, can also cause hormonal imbalances, leading to mood changes and unexplained crying. In addition, certain medications, such as those used to treat high blood pressure or birth control, can affect hormone levels and potentially cause negative emotions and crying.

Anxiety can also affect our hormones - find more information on the link between anxiety and hormone imbalance here.

How Do I Cope With Unexpected Crying Episodes?

Although unexpected crying can be worrying and, if frequent, distressing, there are steps you can take to manage your emotions and improve your mental health.

#1 Acknowledge and Validate Your Emotions

Allowing yourself to feel and express your emotions, even if you are not sure what is causing them, will help you to cope with and overcome unexpected crying. Try to accept and validate your emotions rather than trying to suppress or ignore them.

#2 Consistently Practice Self-Care

Taking care of yourself is vital for managing your emotions and overall well-being. This can include activities such as exercising, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and finding time for relaxation and leisure activities.

#3 Identify and Address Any Underlying Issues

If you are experiencing unexplained crying, it may be helpful to explore any underlying issues potentially contributing to your emotional distress. This can include seeking treatment for mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, or addressing any unresolved emotional issues from the past. You can do this by speaking to a healthcare provider, such as a mental health professional, which we will explore next.

#4 Speak to a Mental Health Professional

Speaking with a mental health professional may you help manage unexpected crying episodes in more ways than one.

They can help you identify any underlying issues that may be contributing to your unexpected crying. This can include mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, or unresolved emotional issues from the past. By addressing these underlying issues, you may better understand and cope with your emotions.

A mental health professional can also provide support and guidance as you work through your emotions and find ways to cope with unexpected crying episodes, offering coping strategies to help you manage your feelings.

Furthermore, they can provide a safe and supportive space for you to express and explore your emotions. This can be especially helpful if you struggle to talk about your feelings with friends or family or feel overwhelmed by your emotions.

#5 Use Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation, can help manage your emotions and reduce stress and anxiety, lessening the likelihood of anxiety crying, and other psychological symptoms.

You can find more strategies for unexpected crying spells here.

Final Note on Crying for "No Reason"

Crying for no reason can be a confusing and distressing experience. This phenomenon has many potential causes, including hormonal imbalances, stress, depression, and unresolved emotional issues. It is also possible that crying for no reason may be a symptom of a more serious underlying medical condition, such as a thyroid disorder or pseudobulbar affect.

If you are experiencing unexplained crying, it is important to seek help and support. A mental health professional can support you and recommend treatment options to help manage your emotions and improve your overall well-being.

Remember, crying is a normal and healthy way for humans to express their emotions, and it's not a sign of weakness or a problem that needs to be fixed. It's okay to seek help if you are struggling to cope, and resources and strategies are available to help you find relief and move forward in a more positive direction.

Questions? Comments?

Do you have a specific question that this article didn’t answered? Send us a message and we’ll answer it for you!

Ask Doctor a Question


Where can I go to learn more about Jacobson’s relaxation technique and other similar methods?

– Anonymous patient


You can ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist or other mental health professional who uses relaxation techniques to help patients. Not all psychologists or other mental health professionals are knowledgeable about these techniques, though. Therapists often add their own “twist” to the technqiues. Training varies by the type of technique that they use. Some people also buy CDs and DVDs on progressive muscle relaxation and allow the audio to guide them through the process.

Ask Doctor a Question

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