Depression, anxiety and other emotional behavior changes are common in stroke survivors. Depression can occur right after a stroke, during rehabilitation or after returning home.
But sometimes, a stroke survivor’s depression is not actually depression. Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) is a medical condition characterized by sudden and unpredictable episodes of crying or laughing. PBA is triggered by damage to an area of the brain and causes uncontrollable emotional outbursts. It is estimated that PBA affects more than one million people in the U.S. PBA is often mistaken for depression, and is therefore often undiagnosed, undertreated and sometimes inappropriately treated.
Sudden and often inappropriate outbursts of PBA can make people feel like their internal emotions and external expressions are disconnected. This can cause frustration for both stroke survivors and their loved ones. Understanding this condition can be a step toward reclaiming and improving your relationship and quality of life.
Meet Our Ambassador
Sonja and her daughter Amber are speaking out about PBA and the challenges they face as a family. They want others to know that correct diagnosis of PBA is important.
Watch Sonja’s story about her struggle with PBA.