It is quite natural for everyone to get emotional at one point or the other. It is normally situational. In some situations, a person may feel angry or upset while in others he or she may feel sad and depressed. Feeling emotional is the brain’s way of responding to various events that go on in life, of which some are happy moments while others are sad[1, 2].
However, when a person starts having emotional outbursts for no specific or justifiable reason then it is a sign that all may not be well. This is especially with regard to crying. It is quite natural for people to cry when feel, bad, stressed, or depressed. However, some people feel like crying just for no reason. If this is the case with anyone then it is time to consult with a professional[1, 2].
A mental disorder, hormonal imbalance, or even an underlying medical condition may be the reason for crying without reason[1, 2]. This article explains the reasons behind crying for no reason and different ways to cope up with it.
Why Does A Person Cry Without Reason?
The body mechanism behind crying is not clearly explained in the literature or by scientists and thus nobody is sure as to why we cry when we feel sad or upset.
Anatomically, the lacrimal glands near the eye produce tears and drain it near the eye. The primary function of these tears is to keep the eyes hydrated and clear off any debris or dust that may be present on the surface of the eyes. However, why these tears flow down when we are emotionally down is something that scientists are not sure of[1, 2].
Some experts believe that tears also play a role in stress relief. It is also known that while crying the tears release leucine enkephalin a hormone that acts as a pain killer. It also calms and soothes the mind and the person feels relaxed and calm after crying. Thus many people believe that crying is the best way to relieve stress and calm the mind down.
However, when a person cries without a reason then it is a sign of something just not right with the mind or the body. Some of the potential reasons include
Menstrual Cycles: During periods a female undergoes significant hormonal changes. These changes often at times cause emotional ups and downs. These symptoms are known as premenstrual syndrome. Various studies have reflected that around 75% of female of reproductive age have PMS.
One of the many symptoms of PMS is crying. This may start just before or during a period. There will also be heightened sense of sadness and depression along with anxiety.
Pregnancy: Some females have frequent crying spells for no reason when they become pregnant. This again is due to hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. These hormonal fluctuations cause significant change in mood with feelings of sadness and depression. This may continue at times even after delivery of the child.
In some females, this feeling of depression and crying spells continue for far too long. This is a condition called as postpartum depression. A female having this will also have no motivation or energy to do normal household chores. They will also have problems sleeping and their memory also get affected. They will also lack interest in the baby and take proper care of them.
Burnout: This is perhaps the most common reason for people to cry for no reason. This is a condition in which a person suffers from extreme exhaustion mainly due to overwork or due to an extremely stressful situation like grieving loss of a family member. Burnout causes frequent emotional outbursts and crying spells. A severe burnout will also cause depression and anxiety, sleep problems, fatigue and problems concentrating and staying on task.
Anxiety: Generalized anxiety disorder is a mental health disorder where a person has a sense of extremely fear, worry, and panic. This condition is quite prevalent in the United States with about 40 million adults suffering from this condition. A person with an anxiety attack will have loss of self-control and deep senses of sadness which will make the person cry for no reason. Additionally, the person will also experience nervousness, mood swings, feelings of an impending doom, problems with focus and concentration.
Depression: This again is a mental health disorder which can make a person cry for no reason. Depression is characterized by periods of low mood and profound sadness for prolonged periods of time. Additionally, helplessness, hopelessness, feelings of guilt, low self-confidence, difficulty concentrating, and lack of interest in doing any activities and suicidal thoughts are some of the other symptoms of depression.
Grief: Losing a loved one always drains a person out emotionally. It almost always causes a person to cry without any reason. The process of grieving of the loss of a loved one lasts for a minimum of six months after which the crying episodes generally stop. However, in some people this continues well beyond a year. This is called as complicated grieving. When this happens, it is best to consult with a psychologist to cope with the loss and handler the stress associated with it. Some of the other features aside from crying without reason include a sense of disbelief about the loss, feelings of guilt, feelings of isolation and a social disconnect, and even suicidal thoughts.
Pseudobulbar Affect: This is a neurological disorder which also causes a person to cry for no reason. It is also known by the name of emotional lability. The cause for Pseudobulbar Affect of disconnect between the frontal lobes of brain and the cerebellum and brain stem. While the frontal lobes control the emotions the cerebellum and the brain stem control the reflexes.
The disconnect causes emotional disequilibrium making the person cry for no reason, being angry or laughing at inappropriate times. Pseudobulbar Affect can occur as a result of a stroke, ALS, MS, or Parkinson Disease. Sometimes a traumatic brain injury due to an accident can also cause a person to have pseudobulbar affect resulting in crying for no reason.
How To Deal With Crying Without Reason?
Crying is the best way to express an emotion. When feeling down and out, it is perhaps the best way to feel light and relaxed. However, there are people who have episodes of crying for no apparent reason. There are various reasons for it which has been explained in detail above. There are however some strategies which can be employed to deal with crying episodes[1, 2].
People with a diagnosed anxiety and depression can try deep breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation as a means to calm the mind down and feel relaxed. A relaxed and fresh mind is extremely effective in stopping a person from crying. Additionally, pressing the tongue to the roof of the mouth and relaxing the facial muscles are also some of the ways to prevent crying episodes.
A consultation with a physician is recommended in situations where the crying episodes are way too frequent, interferes with the daily life, and is accompanied by other psychological symptoms. Based on the symptoms exhibited by the patient, the physician will recommend a psychologist or a psychiatrist to deal with the condition.
In cases where an underlying medical condition is suspected to be the reason behind the crying episodes then the psychologist or a psychiatrist will conduct further tests and investigations to determine a diagnosis and formulate a treatment plan.
To summarize, Crying is a normal way of expressing ones emotion. People cry when they are extremely happy such as after meeting a close one after a long time or when they are in deep grief such as when losing a close friend or relative. However, crying for no reason can affect the daily life of a person both in the personal and professional front[1, 2].
Crying for no reason can occur due to a variety of reasons such as anxiety, prolonged grief, hormonal issues, pregnancy, and even some neurological disorders such as a condition called Pseudobulbar Affect. Coping with stress, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and consulting with a mental health provider or various social organizations are helpful in effectively dealing with crying for reason[1, 2].
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