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Laughing Turns into Hysterical Sobbing

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Recently whenever I’m laughing hard I’ll start sobbing hysterically after a few minutes. I’ll be watching a funny video or on a site and if I’ve been laughing for a while I’ll suddenly just start sobbing. I don’t really cry a lot but when this happens I’ll sob for five to ten minutes straight and get extremely sad and depressed even tough I was happy just a second before. The feeling of sadness will last for several hours after the crying has stopped and it will start again if I laugh in the next hour or so. It only happens when I’ve been laughing for an extended period of time. I’ve never experienced anything like these episodes, when it happens it’s like something breaks in me. I’ve actually had chronic depression for about 9 years and it’s been getting better in the passed two years but it’s still persistent. I’ve also had issues related to chronic stress for about 7 years including memory loss, involuntary eye movements, chronic sleep deprivation, and panic attacks. Over the passed 2 years these have greatly improved though I still have issues with bouts of stress. I’m wondering if the sudden crying is related to any of these even though it’s only started happening in the passed two months or if it’s an unrelated issue. I’m in college and so far this has only happened in private but I’m worried that it might become more frequent and happen during school.

Laughing Turns into Hysterical Sobbing

Answered by on -


Thank you for sending in this important question. I think your intuition is right on. My guess is that you will be able to sort this through with your therapist and/or physician. As a junior in college your stress level may be increasing and the demands on you may be part of why this is happening.

If you don’t have regular physician I would highly recommend going to the university counseling center. They can arrange for a meeting with the psychiatrist who could help determine what maybe going on.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Laughing Turns into Hysterical Sobbing

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Laughing Turns into Hysterical Sobbing. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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