Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) is one of the most frequently reported post-stroke behavior conditions, with up to half of all stroke survivors experiencing it at some time. PBA can be extremely embarrassing and can negatively impact a survivor’s social life and relationships.
What is Pseudobulbar Affect?
Have you experienced sudden outbursts of uncontrollable crying or laughing? If so, you may have Pseudobulbar affect (PBA). It is sometimes referred to as emotional lability, pathological crying and laughing or emotional incontinence. An episode of PBA can occur at any time, even in inappropriate social situations.
PBA is often mistaken for depression, causing it to be underdiagnosed, undertreated and sometimes inappropriately treated.
Only a healthcare provider can diagnose PBA. However, the Center for Neurologic Study-Lability Scale (CNS-LS), developed by healthcare professionals, can help you assess whether you have symptoms of PBA. Your answers to this simple seven-question scale will help you determine whether to talk to your healthcare provider about PBA. A CNS-LS score of 13 or higher may suggest PBA.
This scale is not intended as a substitute for professional medical assessment and/or advice. Please consult your healthcare provider.
Can Pseudobulbar Affect be treated?
PBA can be treated. The first step to treating PBA is to get an accurate diagnosis. Because people with PBA may cry a lot, their symptoms may be confused with depression. However, PBA is not depression. Ask your healthcare professional about PBA treatment options. Education of patients, families, and caregivers is an important component of the appropriate treatment of PBA.
Tips to live with PBA
These tips are general coping techniques and are not substitutes for medical advice. Talk with your doctor about additional ways to cope with your PBA episodes and whether a treatment plan may be appropriate.
Research about PBA
Results of a 2010 National Stroke Association survey about PBA after stroke showed that:
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