Why Do I Feel Like Crying? 10 Reasons People Cry And What To Do About It

Updated September 8, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

Recently, scientists have become increasingly interested in the reasons humans cry. After hundreds of studies, they’ve come to the conclusion that crying is often good for you.

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Crying Is Natural, But Sometimes We Need Help Doing It

Yet, unexplained crying may signify emotional problems. This guide helps you navigate some of the potential causes of crying for no reason and what to do about it.

Here Are 10 Reasons People Cry For No Apparent Reason.

1. Depression

There’s conflicting evidence from research looking into depression and crying. Some studies say individuals with depression experience less emotions than non-depressed individuals. Other experts report the opposite.

While psychologists continue to uncover the truth about crying and depression, one thing is certain: Some individuals with depression report uncontrollable crying.

How To Deal With Depression-Induced Crying

Depression-induced crying can be relieved through treating the underlying mental health condition. Talk to your physician about whether anti-depressants, therapy, or both can help alleviate your symptoms.

2. Grief

When a family dies, people get divorced, or a loved one goes to prison, it’s common for a person to experience grief.

For grieving individuals, crying is essential for healing. Some research suggests that not crying while grieving can lead to adverse health effects later.

How To Deal With Crying During Grieving

In a 2008 study of more than 5,000 participants, scientists found that crying is essential to the grieving process. In addition, where you cry and with who impacts how you feel.

The study found people felt better when they cried alone or with a supportive friend. Therefore, it can be a good idea to avoid crying in public places. If you cry with your spouse at home or at a therapy session, you’ll get the most benefit out of your tears.

3. Stress

Do you often find yourself breaking into tears at work? If the answer is yes, it’s likely your job is stressful. Many individuals cry when mad or stressed out.

How To Deal With Stress-Related Crying

2019 study looked at the effects of crying on how stressed out people felt. The results showed crying helped participants maintain balance during stressful episodes.

So, when you feel like crying at work, remind yourself it’s a coping mechanism that helps lower stress, although you might want to find a place to do it.

If tearful outbursts are impacting your job, consider exploring other self-soothing techniques to help you deal more covertly, for example, by learning breathing or meditation techniques you can use when stressed.

4. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

People with traumatic brain injury (TBI) often report emotional problems, including uncontrollable laughing and crying. This symptoms is strongly connected to brain injuries in locations controlling emotions and behavior.

With this type of unexplained crying, people report feeling the sudden and overwhelming urge to cry for no apparent reason, which can be confusing for loved ones. However, there are ways to cope.

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How To Deal With TBI Crying

Emotional changes after a TBI typically go away on their own. Many people report improvements in mood control within a few months.

Those who don’t see improvements may be dealing with a more severe underlying condition. If you have TBI-related mood swings that don’t dissipated after a few months, talk to your physician. They will likely prescribe tests, medication, or counseling to help you overcome mood swings and crying episodes.

5. Personality

Between 15%–20% of the population can be considered highly sensitive persons (HSP). HSPs tend to be more sensitive to their surroundings and may experience a heightened emotions, including being prone to crying spells. Similarly, people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) report a higher frequency of crying.

How To Deal With A Crying-Prone Personality

If you’re a HSP, odds are there’s little you can do to stop yourself from crying. Your brain is wired to feel strongly about experiences. However, working with a therapist can help you uncover crying triggers and learn alternate ways to self-soothe.

For people with BPD, getting treatment for your underlying disorder may help alleviate the crying, too.

6. Post-Coital Dysphoria

Not all crying spells are bad, and post-coital dysphoria (PCD) is an example. PCD is the scientific term for crying after sex. Some estimates claim between 32% and 46% of women experience PCD at some point in their sexually active lifetime. Perhaps more surprisingly, a study looking at the post-coital crying experiences of 1,208 men found around 4% who reported regularly cried during or after sex.

The most common reasons for PCD tearfulness were happiness, getting lost in the moment, and incredible orgasms. Of course, others reported pain, anxiety, confusion, shame, past trauma, and depression as reasons for post-coital crying.

How To Deal With PCD

No matter the reason for PCD, there’s something you can do about it.

If PCD is due to pain or physical discomfort, see a physician because it’s often treatable.

If your crying is due to happiness, getting lost in the moment, or an incredible orgasm, you probably don’t need help. However, if it feels like a problem, you can try changing your perception about sex-related crying to view PCD as a positive expression of your feelings.

If you’re worried a harmful relationship, past sexual trauma, or shame surrounding intimacy is causing PCD, a therapist can help. Consider talking to your partner first to decide if you should seek individual counseling or a couple’s counsellor together.

7. Socialization

Many studies have looked at crying differences between males and females, finding that women cry more frequently than men.

Why is this? Research suggests women cry more often because they’re socialized to believe crying is okay.

Meanwhile, men in their pre-adult years are often discouraged from crying. Indeed, a study found that women rate a crying man and a crying woman equally. Comparatively, men tend to rate crying men more unfavorably than crying women.

How To Deal With Socialized Crying

For men socialized not to shed tears, crying can be distressing and embarrassing. You can try to change your perspective and remember, crying may make you feel better.

However, if you’re dealing with uncontrollable tearful outbursts, it may be time to speak to a therapist. You could be dealing with a more serious underlying condition.

8. Hormones

Another possible reason for higher rates of crying in women is hormones. Estrogen, the predominant female hormone, is associated with the way the brain processes emotions.

During premenstrual syndrome (PMS), up to 90% of women report emotional symptoms. These symptoms include excessive crying, depression, anxiety, and social withdrawal.

Note that these symptoms may also influence individuals taking estrogen supplements during a gender transition.

How To Deal With Hormonal Crying

One thing about hormonal crying is it typically goes away after a woman’s period. However, if you experience severe mood swings or excessive crying that disrupt your daily life, you may have a premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

PMDD is a severe form of PMS that can significantly interfere with daily life and interpersonal relationships. Post-partum depression and post-menopausal depression are also hormone-related conditions that cause crying.

If you think you’re experiencing crying related to hormonal imbalances, there are things you can do. For example, birth control medication helps some individuals who cry during PMS or post-partum depression. Doctors also prescribe anti-depressants for more severe hormone-induced mood swings. Exercise, stress reduction, and other lifestyle practices can also help.

9. Childhood Or Adult Trauma

Because crying is a normal response to stress, it makes sense chronically stressed people may cry more easily and more often than others.

Indeed, people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from childhood or adult trauma often report frequent urges to cry. People who have complex-PTSD from repeated or prolonged trauma may be even more susceptible to unexplained crying.

How To Deal With Trauma-Related Crying

Crying related to past traumas is normal and even healthy. So, the first step for coping with trauma-related crying is not to shame yourself for it by remembering that crying is good for you.

However, if uncontrollable crying is severely impairing your life or relationships, some treatments can help. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy has been shown to lessen the symptoms of PTSD. Talk therapy is another option that provides relief to many people recovering from trauma.

10. Anxiety

Approximately 18% of people in the US have an anxiety disorder, making it the country's most common mental health condition. If you always feel like crying, it might be a symptom of anxiety. This condition’s top symptoms include excessive worry, irritableness, difficulty concentrating, and crying.

How To Deal With Anxious Crying

Depending on how severe your anxiety is, there are different ways to deal with anxious crying.

Therapy and medication are some of the top choices for more severe cases. For milder cases of anxiety, making simple changes to diet, sleeping patterns, and exercise routine may be sufficient to alleviate uncontrollable crying.

Online therapy is one convenient option for seeking help for unexplained crying. Depression, anxiety, and stress disorders are often connected to frequent crying, and research findings support that online therapy is an effective treatment method for these conditions. In addition, online therapy is also often less expensive and almost always more convenient than seeing a therapist in person.

Getty/AnnaStills
Crying Is Natural, But Sometimes We Need Help Doing It

Takeaway

If you’re wondering “Why do I feel like crying so often?” then know that crying is often good for you. Research shows it can help when dealing with stress and grief. However, if you are crying uncontrollably and it is impacting your life, talking to your doctor or a therapist can help you discover the root cause and how to overcome it.

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