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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Pseudobulbar affect

*

* Not a rare disease

Other Names for this Disease
  • Emotional incontinence
  • Emotional lability
  • Involuntary emotional expression disorder
  • Pathological crying and laughing
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Overview

Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) is a medical condition characterized by sudden and uncontrollable episodes of crying, laughing or other emotional displays. An episode of PBA can occur at any time, even in inappropriate social situations. PBA is common in stroke survivors or people with other neurologic conditions such as dementia, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) or traumatic brain injury. It is thought to affect more than 1 million people in the U.S. PBA is often mistaken for depression, causing it to be underdiagnosed, undertreated and sometimes treated inappropriately.[1] Medications such as the combination of dextromethorphan and quinidine have been effective in treating this condition.[2]
Last updated: 2/18/2014

References

  1. Pseudobulbar Affect. National Stroke Association. May 2013; http://www.stroke.org/site/PageServer?pagename=PBA. Accessed 2/18/2014.
  2. Multiple Sclerosis: Hope Through Research - Inappropriate laughing or crying. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). December 30, 2013; http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multiple_sclerosis/detail_multiple_sclerosis.htm#240313215. Accessed 2/18/2014.
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In Depth Information

  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Pseudobulbar affect. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
Other Names for this Disease
  • Emotional incontinence
  • Emotional lability
  • Involuntary emotional expression disorder
  • Pathological crying and laughing
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.