Pseudobulbar affect

What is the long-term outlook for people with pseudobulbar affect?

The long-term outlook (prognosis) for people with pseudobulbar affect (PBA) may depend on the underlying cause of the condition and any associated condition(s) the affected person has. However, it can have various negative impacts on functioning.

Depending on severity, the condition can be highly disruptive to everyday life, causing distress, embarrassment, social isolation and, in some cases, an inability to work. Some individuals may become housebound or may be moved to supervised living. Unfortunately, the burden of illness associated with PBA is not well characterized. Studies in populations with stroke, Parkinson disease, and other movement disorders have shown that patients with PBA or similarly described symptoms of inappropriate laughing and/or crying have a greater incidence of depression and decreased executive function, sexual function, and ability to perform activities of daily living compared with patients with the same underlying neurological disorder but without PBA symptoms.

Treatment for PBA can reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms. One study involving people with multiple sclerosis and ALS showed that people on medication for PBA had about half as many laughing and crying episodes as did those taking the placebo.

We are not aware of information about whether symptoms of PBA progress, resolve, or remain consistent over time.

Last updated on 05-01-20

In-Depth Information

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society provides information about Pseudobulbar affect for health professionals.

Last updated on 04-27-20

Where To Start

National Stroke Association

The National Stroke Association provides information about Pseudobulbar affect.

Last updated on 04-27-20

Name: National Multiple Sclerosis Society 733 Third Avenue, 6th Floor
New York, NY, 10017-3288, United States
Phone: +1-212-986-3240 Toll Free: 1-800-344-4867 Fax : +1-212-986-7981 Email: Url:
Name: Brain Foundation P O Box 579 Crows Nest, NSW
1585 Suite 21 Regent House 37-43 Alexander Street Crows Nest, NSW 2065
Phone: 61 2 9437 5967 Fax : 61 2 9437 5978 Email: Url:
Name: American Stroke Association National Center 7272 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX, 75231, United States
Phone: 888-478-7653 Url:
Pseudobulbar Affect National Stroke Association. May 2013; Reference Link Multiple Sclerosis: Hope Through Research - Inappropriate laughing or crying National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). December 30, 2013; Reference Link

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