Understanding Uncontrollable Crying or Laughing

sheilas_storyby Sheila, a mother living with early-onset Alzheimer’s dementia

After my father passed away in ’99, I went into a depression. Coincidentally, at about the same time, I started getting Alzheimer’s symptoms. My daughter, Dominique, says it was like I was going into a daze.

In addition to my other symptoms, I found myself having these episodes where I would just start crying out of the blue and I would have to shut myself away where people couldn’t see me. I thought the crying outbursts were just part of the depression. But then I also started having episodes of uncontrollable laughing.

I know it was hard for Dominique because sometimes she would want to have a serious conversation about something at school and all I could do was laugh. Sometimes I would also have these laughing episodes at her basketball games which was embarrassing for her.

Because I was crying AND laughing, I suspected there must be something more than just depression going on. Finally, Dominique and I went to talk to my neurologist about it and that’s when he diagnosed me with PBA (PseudoBulbar Affect). PseudoBulbar Affect (PBA) symptoms are frequent, uncontrollable outbursts of crying or laughing in people with certain neurologic conditions or brain injuries. PBA can occur when certain neurologic diseases or brain injuries damage the areas in the brain that control normal expression of emotion. This damage can disrupt brain signaling, causing a ‘short circuit’ and triggering involuntary episodes of crying or laughing. Understanding the reason for my outbursts has made it a little easier to live with. Better still, my doctor has helped me decide on a treatment plan for my PBA.

To learn more about PBA, please visit https://www.pbafacts.com/ where you will find additional facts; an assessment sheet for you, your loved one or client, and 9 Questions for You and Your Doctor to begin the process of evaluation.

– See more at: https://www.pbafacts.com/patient-stories/sheila


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