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Why do we cry?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
We still don't know for sure. Prolactin could be a key. This major hormone increases with stress and is associated with crying. Levels of prolactin in the body correlate positively with frequency of emotional crying. A tantalizing bit of evidence? As a whole, women cry more often than men (perhaps four times as often, according to one study), and they have a whole lot more prolactin (60 percent more) than men, as well.

Interestingly, emotional tears are rare or nonexistent in other species. Discounting a few unverified tales of weepy gorillas and elephants (which may well prove, someday, to be accurate), it seems humans are the only ones to cry. Maybe we have more developed emotional processes, and emotional tears appear a way of conveying profound emotions. Crying may seem as though your body has failed you. It is more likely, however, that you have reached a level of stress that is detrimental to your health and that you should let it out. It's okay to cry.
YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

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YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

Between your full-length mirror and high-school biology class, you probably think you know a lot about the human body. While it's true that we live in an age when we're as obsessed with our bodies as...
John Preston, PsyD
Psychology
For years, researchers have been trying to figure out why we cry, but there are still no definitive answers to the question, Why do humans cry at emotional moments? Neurobiologist William Frey has been studying crying since 1983 and has reported something that you probably already know: crying in response to a strong emotion actually can reduce the intensity of that emotion.
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Depression 101: A Practical Guide to Treatments, Self-Help Strategies, and Preventing Relapse

When you have depression, it can feel like there's no way out. To begin changing the way you feel, you'll need an arsenal of proven techniques for lifting your mood and preventing relapse. The...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.