Verge of tears all the time

Getting support, causes, and how to stop crying

For people of all ages, crying is a natural, important way to express emotions — even when the reason is unclear.

Everyone cries now and again, and a person may cry more on a given day for no clear reason.

If crying becomes more frequent or uncontrollable and there is no apparent cause, consider consulting a medical professional. A mental health condition, hormonal imbalance, or neurological condition may be responsible.

This article explores what can cause frequent and unexplained crying. We also give advice about when and where to receive help.

The factors below can cause a person to cry more than usual or without an apparent reason.


Hormonal changes that occur around the time of menstruation can cause emotional and physical symptoms. Doctors refer to these symptoms collectively as premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

A 2013 study reports that as many as 75% of women of reproductive age experience PMS.

Crying spells are one symptom of PMS. Some related symptoms that may occur shortly before or during a period include:

  • depression or feelings of sadness
  • tension or anxiety
  • irritability or hostile behavior
  • mood changes


The body goes through many hormonal changes during and after pregnancy. These changes can influence a person’s mood, causing them to cry more than usual.

Most people experience feelings of sadness and emptiness within a few days of giving birth. If these feelings last for more than 2 weeks, they can indicate postpartum depression.

Other symptoms of postpartum depression can include:

  • a persistent low mood
  • a lack of motivation or energy
  • sleep and memory problems
  • a lack of interest in the baby
  • a lack of connection with the baby
  • feelings of hopelessness and guilt


Burnout describes extreme mental and physical exhaustion that a person may experience when exposed to excessive, prolonged stress.

It can affect a person’s ability to regulate their negative emotions, which may lead to emotional outbursts and crying.

Some other features of burnout include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • anger
  • isolation
  • insomnia
  • fatigue
  • a lack of concentration
  • forgetfulness
  • a loss of appetite
  • persistent chest pains
  • shortness of breath
  • heart palpitations
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • gastrointestinal problems


Anxiety is a mental health condition that involves increased levels of fear, worry, or panic. It affects around 40 million adults in the United States each year.

Anxiety can make people feel vulnerable and out of control — feelings that can cause a person to cry. If this happens, the reasons may not be clear.

Some other symptoms of anxiety include:

  • nervousness
  • irritability
  • feelings of impending danger or doom
  • difficulty concentrating
  • an increased heart rate
  • rapid breathing
  • increased sweating
  • trembling
  • feeling weak or tired
  • difficulty sleeping
  • gastrointestinal problems


Depression is a mental health condition characterized by a low mood that lasts weeks, months, or years.

A person with depression may cry more readily or frequently than a person without it. Some other symptoms can include:

  • anger and irritability
  • feelings of guilt and hopelessness
  • feelings of numbness or emptiness
  • low confidence and self-esteem
  • a lack of interest or pleasure in past hobbies or interests
  • poor concentration
  • sleep problems
  • changes in appetite
  • suicidal thoughts


Grief is a complex process that occurs when someone loses someone or something important to them. The process is different for everyone, but crying is often part of it.

Some people experience delayed or prolonged grief that does not improve over time. Experts refer to this as “complicated” or “unresolved” grief. It can cause a person to cry suddenly or without warning.

Other symptoms of complicated or unresolved grief include:

  • an inability to accept the loss
  • emotional numbness
  • intense emotional pain
  • feelings of personal blame or guilt
  • feeling isolated or detached from others
  • a loss of identity or purpose
  • a feeling that life is meaningless or empty
  • suicidal thoughts

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.

Click here for more links and local resources.

Pseudobulbar affect

Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) is a neurological condition that can increase a person’s propensity to cry. Other names for this condition include:

  • emotional lability
  • reflex crying
  • involuntary emotional expression disorder

PBA occurs because of a disconnect between the frontal lobes of the brain and the cerebellum and brain stem. The frontal lobes control emotions, while the cerebellum and brain stem help regulate reflexes.

A disconnect between these areas can lead to emotional dysregulation, which may lead to uncontrollable crying, anger, or laughter.

PBA can occur as a result of:

  • a stroke
  • dementia
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, often called ALS
  • multiple sclerosis, often called MS
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Wilson’s disease
  • brain tumors
  • a traumatic brain injury

Cultural factors

Social and cultural factors may also influence how much people cry. A person who is part of a culture that is less accepting of crying and other forms of emotional expression may try to avoid crying to prevent shame or embarrassment.

An older study, from 2011, investigated trends in crying among adults in 37 countries. It found that people living in affluent countries with more extroverted cultures cry more often.

Crying is a perfectly normal way to express emotion. But someone who often cries for no apparent reason may feel worried about crying at inappropriate or inconvenient times.

The strategies below might help a person stop crying:

  • pressing the tongue to the roof of the mouth
  • relaxing the facial muscles
  • pinching the skin between the thumb and forefinger

A person might also try a deep breathing exercise, which is a common way to calm and control emotions. It involves breathing in through the nose for several seconds and pulling the air down to expand the belly, then releasing the air through the mouth until the belly deflates.

If a mental health issue is responsible for a person’s frequent crying, they may benefit from the resources and support that the following organizations offer:

  • the Anxiety and Depression Association of America
  • the National Institute of Mental Health
  • Active Minds
  • Mental Health America

Also, local mental health organizations and support groups are often available. A doctor can provide guidance about accessing these resources.

A person should see a doctor if they experience crying that:

  • is frequent, uncontrollable, and occurs for no apparent reason
  • interferes with the ability to do everyday things
  • is accompanied by other physical, emotional, or psychological symptoms

If the doctor believes that the person may have an underlying mental health issue, they may refer the person to a psychiatrist or psychotherapist. These mental health professionals can help people address and resolve the underlying issues and develop appropriate coping strategies.

If the doctor suspects that there is a physical health issue, they can provide a diagnosis and treatment.

Crying is a normal emotional response to many different factors. However, frequent, uncontrollable, or unexplained crying can be emotionally and physically exhausting and can greatly affect daily life.

This type of crying may result from a mental health condition, such as burnout, anxiety, or depression. It might instead stem from hormonal imbalances or neurological conditions.

If frequent crying for no apparent reason is causing concern, see a doctor for a diagnosis or a referral to a mental health professional.

Meanwhile, many organizations provide resources and support, and a doctor can help a person access those that are most appropriate.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline | SAMHSA

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  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

    Also visit the online treatment locator.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.

In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.

The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.

The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs.

No, we do not provide counseling. Trained information specialists answer calls, transfer callers to state services or other appropriate intake centers in their states, and connect them with local assistance and support.

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Last Updated: 08/30/2022

Nervous breakdown: symptoms, treatment and prevention

Nervous breakdowns often occur due to the inability to relax, let go of difficult situations and not take negative events to heart. The main provocative factor is a stressful environment that can shake the nervous system in a fairly short time. For the treatment of nervous disorders, pharmacotherapy and psychotherapeutic treatment are prescribed, namely holistic, cognitive-behavioral therapy, as well as additional psychotherapeutic techniques. nine0003

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A nervous breakdown or nervous breakdown is an acute short-term condition that manifests itself with neurotic and depressive symptoms. As a rule, a nervous breakdown is a reaction to any events or external stimuli - stress, divorce, prolonged emotional stress. Despite the fact that there is no such disease as a nervous breakdown in the classification of mental disorders, the symptoms have been studied and described in great detail:

  • Aggression aimed at relatives, colleagues or strangers
  • hysteria
  • A sharp decrease in functioning
  • Apathy
  • Excessive reaction to other people's words, assessment
  • 9001 With a nervous breakdown, symptoms can also manifest as emotional lability, fear, anxiety, limited social contacts, and a sharp change in mood. The causes of nervous breakdown, as a rule, are of a psychogenic nature. In the event that an acute condition, such as a nervous breakdown, becomes chronic, psychiatrists speak of the development of neuroses. Thus, from the point of view of psychiatry, a nervous breakdown is a kind of borderline condition, when a person has not yet developed a psychiatric disease, but at the same time he is not a mentally healthy person. nine0003

    Types of disorders

    Nervous disorders are varied, but most often people experience one of the following:

    • Neurasthenia

    This is the name for long-term depression of the nervous system - usually caused by prolonged stress. It is expressed by irritability, low mood and decreased performance. With neurasthenia, people often complain of headaches, weakness, insomnia, inability to concentrate. Excited state is combined with lethargy and fatigue. nine0003

    • Anxiety disorder

    In this type of nervous disorder, a person is constantly focused on some disturbing thoughts and ideas. This state differs from delirium in that these ideas are, in essence, quite real. In other words, a person suffering from delusions is afraid of being abducted by aliens, and with an anxiety disorder, he cannot get rid of the fear of losing his job, betrayal, or illness. Various phobias also belong to this type of nervous disorders. It should be noted that a person can understand that his fears are most likely groundless, but he cannot stop thinking about them. nine0003

    • Panic disorder

    This type of disorder is characterized by sudden and unexplained panic attacks - attacks of uncontrollable fear. During a panic attack, a person experiences inexplicable horror, he begins to suffocate, sweating, dizziness, fear of death, tremors occur. Attacks last from a few minutes to half an hour, and in severe cases occur daily. In mild panic disorder, attacks may occur only a few times a year, but the person is constantly waiting for a new attack and feels nervous. nine0003

    • Depressive disorder

    Despite the fact that most people consider deep sadness the main symptom of depression, this disorder often manifests differently. A depressive disorder is not so much sadness as apathy, a loss of interest in everything that previously seemed important and interesting. To a person in this state, everything seems meaningless, he sees the future exclusively in black colors, he is prone to self-abasement. Depression is often accompanied by drowsiness or severe insomnia, loss of appetite, sudden weight gain or loss. nine0003

    • Vegetative-vascular dystonia

    Not being a nervous disorder in the truest sense of the word, VSD is nevertheless associated with such disorders. The autonomic nervous system controls the entire body. It is she who regulates pressure and heart rate, prepares muscles for tension, etc. In case of violations in her work, these mechanisms do not work adequately to the situation - for example, there is no danger, but the body reacts as if it were.

    Causes of neurotic disorders

    Scientists have been looking for a clue to the origin of neurotic disorders for many years. The causes of the pathological condition put forward by physicians are very different. However, most researchers tend to believe that the disease is transmitted at the gene level. That is, in a patient in the family, someone suffered from a similar disease. However, there are other reasons that provoke neuroses and related disorders:

    • unfavorable ecology;
    • childhood psychological trauma;
    • excessive mental and physical stress;
    • family stress and problems;
    • exhaustion of the nervous system;
    • very busy work;
    • congenital tendency to fatigue;
    • alcohol abuse and drug use.

    Signs of a nervous breakdown

    From the point of view of psychiatry, a nervous breakdown is a borderline state when an individual is not yet sick, but one cannot call him completely healthy either. A sudden outburst of anger or sadness does not yet indicate a nervous breakdown and the need to take special herbs for nervous conditions. We can distinguish the main seven signs of the described disorder. If you find one or two signs in yourself or in relatives, it is recommended to immediately contact a specialist. The main signs of a nervous breakdown:

    • the morning starts with a bad mood, with tears, thoughts that life has failed, “I'm a loser” or “I'm fat and useless”;
    • any remark from the authorities is perceived as a sign of hostility on his part and a desire to fire him;
    • lack of interest in entertainment, hobbies, household and other affairs, as if the person ceases to enjoy life;
    • coming home from work, the individual turns off the phones, lie down on the bed, covered with a blanket, as if hiding from the outside world; nine0015
    • inability to say “no” to colleagues, superiors, comrades, a person believes that by such behavior he becomes indispensable and in demand;
    • mood is often persistently bad, depressive mood for no apparent reason;
    • frequent trembling in the knees, lump in the throat, wet palms and rapid heartbeat, sudden anxiety.

    Also typical signs of an approaching nervous breakdown are insomnia, a sudden loss or vice versa an increase in body weight, depression, fatigue, fatigue, irritability, suspiciousness, anxiety, resentment, hostility towards others, apathy, pessimism, absent-mindedness, headaches , digestive disorders, obsession with a situation or a person. nine0003

    How to get rid of attacks

    How to treat symptoms of panic disorder of the nervous system, will be discussed below. But you need to know more ways to quickly deal with panic attacks.

    • There are several rules:
    • Drink a glass of cold water.
    • Start saying out loud everything the person is currently doing to cheer themselves up.
    • Do breathing exercises.
    • If a person is alone, you can start singing. nine0015
    • Massage the hands by rubbing the palms together until warmth is felt. It is also good to always carry a spiked rubber massage ball with you.
    • Try to cool your face, you can wash your face with cold water.

    Switch your mind to other tasks, you can draw or color, solve a crossword puzzle, play Tetris. If there is an animal at home, you can start talking to him when a panic attack approaches. Contact with animals generally helps to cope with such attacks. nine0003

    Non-pharmacological methods

    Many non-pharmacological methods are well known, but for some reason they are forgotten, and in fact in the early stages they allow you to cope with the situation without pills. These include:

    • Physical activity that helps to get rid of anxiety, improve the functioning of the cardiovascular system and increase the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that directly affects brain function and mood,
    • Relaxation techniques. They help relieve muscle tension and relax. Yoga, massage, aromatherapy, meditation - all this allows you to get rid of obsessive thoughts. nine0015
    • Physiotherapy. These are electrophoresis, acupuncture, stone therapy, and other techniques.
    • Psychotherapy. In this case, of course, you need to seek help from a specialist, since it is unlikely that you will be able to cope with this on your own. In this case, various methods are used, both individual and group classes. Good results are obtained by cognitive-behavioral therapy, when the patient develops the correct reaction to traumatic situations.

    And, no matter how trite it may sound, the symptoms of an autonomic nervous system disorder in adults, as well as the signs of CNS disorders, disappear with lifestyle changes. It is clear that alcohol and nicotine must be abandoned. nine0003

    Treatment and prevention of nervous breakdown

    When diagnosed with a nervous breakdown, treatment is usually carried out as an outpatient course. The prognosis for a cure is very favorable, with training in mental hygiene skills and obtaining psychological tools to deal with external stimuli, relapses of the disease can be avoided. Patients with a nervous breakdown perceive the treatment very well, they are capable of insights and recover quickly. In Israel, at the IsraClinic, doctors have vast experience in the treatment of nervous disorders. To stabilize the condition, specialists use pharmacotherapy in combination with psychotherapy. Medications help reduce anxiety, smooth out emotional lability, and remove aggression. After the relief of acute symptoms, the psychotherapist conducts an intensive course of dynamic, holistic or cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, thanks to which the patient changes his attitude to external stimuli, learns to respond less to stress, live through negative moments and prevent the development of a nervous breakdown in the future. Prevention of nervous disorders for patients treated at IsraClinic consists not only in teaching mental hygiene skills, but also in the constant communication of the patient with a psychotherapist, undergoing a course of supportive psychotherapy at the place of residence or at the IsraClinic after some time. Prevention of nervous disorders for those who are on the verge of a breakdown consists in conducting psychotherapy in order to prevent nervous breakdown, teaching relaxation skills, rest, and preventive conversations. The term of treatment of nervous disorders may vary, but, as the practice of IsraClinic doctors shows, it is possible to achieve stabilization of the condition and bring the patient into remission within 1-1.5 months of an outpatient course of treatment. In the process of therapy, auxiliary methods can also be used, such as art therapy, sports therapy, hippotherapy, yoga therapy. These techniques are necessary for the development of certain skills and the development of anxiety and depressive symptoms. In some cases, the period of treatment of nervous disorders can be reduced to 2-3 weeks, as a rule, this happens when the patient is very limited in time. In such situations, IsraClinic doctors continue supportive therapy via Skype or via e-mail to monitor the patient's condition and promptly respond to any changes. Therapy of nervous disorders should take place under the supervision of an experienced psychiatrist and psychotherapist. nine0003

    How to tell if you're having a nervous breakdown - 5 sure signs

    "It's the end of the world!" - we often think, experiencing a flurry of negative emotions or receiving a thrashing from superiors. It seems that this is the limit, and there is no more strength to endure. Feelings take over the mind, and everything gets out of control ... What is it?

    There is no specific diagnosis for this condition, but psychologists call it a nervous breakdown. It is considered neither a pathology nor a mental disorder and characterizes only the temporary state of a person. Like being tired or wanting to sleep. Meanwhile, a nervous breakdown should not be taken lightly, believing that everything will go away on its own. We are talking about a situation where a person loses control over himself, cannot function normally, and experiences severe stress. nine0003

    The causes of a nervous breakdown can be very different - financial problems, quarrels and misunderstandings in the family, conflicts at work, personal grief and ordinary mental exhaustion. For different people, a nervous breakdown begins due to different reasons and goes differently.

    The main symptoms of a nervous breakdown

    Understanding that you have suffered a nervous breakdown is not so easy. It seems that everything is under control, everything is fine, just a nervous situation, but in reality everything is much more serious. nine0003

    1. Fatigue

    Feeling weak in the body is not just physical exhaustion, it is one of the signs that your body cannot cope with stress. Previously, the same scope of work was given faster and easier, now - with much more difficulty, more resources are required, more effort. What just yesterday brought pleasure and joy no longer evokes bright feelings: this applies to many things - your favorite food, hobbies, and even sex. Stress directly affects libido.

    2. Feeling of anxiety, depression

    Anxiety is a standard reaction of the body to stressful situations. With a long, continuous stay in this state, we lose our inner balance, which can be manifested by a panic attack, uncontrollable crying, loss of self-confidence, the appearance of guilt and our own insolvency.

    3. Breathing difficulties

    Breathing is another sign of anxiety. There is a feeling of constriction in the chest, as if there is not enough air. Breathing quickens, but at the same time becomes shallow, which aggravates the situation even more. nine0003

    4. Physical pain

    Here we are talking about psychosomatic winding up, when everything is in order with the body, but pain suddenly appears - for example, a headache or pain in the stomach. Very often, experiences and nervous situations lead to indigestion, gastritis and ulcers.

    5. Excess or lack of sleep

    Violation of the usual schedule of sleep and wakefulness is another consequence of stress. Many people just get away from problems, sleep more. Others, on the contrary, suffer from insomnia, can not fall asleep, spin in bed, unable to stop thinking about the problem. nine0003

    There are many factors that are indicative of a nervous breakdown, not just those listed above. Disturbance or increase in appetite, “fog in the head”, problems with thinking, forgetfulness, sudden mood swings, irritability, tremors, twitching of the eyelids, trembling of the lips…

    What should I do if I have a nervous breakdown?

    The main thing is to calm down.

    Learn more