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What is Pseudobulbar Affect? Know causes, symptoms and more about this rare 'laughing disease'

If you or a loved one experiences uncontrollable episodes of laughing or crying, do not hesitate to seek medical help. With the right support and treatment, individuals with PBA can learn to manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.

Written By: Kristina Das @https://twitter.com/KristinaDas2 New Delhi Published on: June 24, 2024 14:44 IST
Pseudobulbar Affect
Image Source : FREEPIK Know causes, symptoms and more about Pseudobulbar Affect.

Baahubali actor Anushka Shetty suffers from a rare laughing disorder also known as Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA). It is a neurological condition that causes uncontrollable episodes of laughing or crying. PBA is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed, leading to a lack of awareness and proper treatment. 

As reported by Indiaglitz, in an old interview, the actor said “I have a laughing disease. You might wonder, ‘Is laughing a problem?’ For me, it is. If I start laughing, I can’t stop for 15 to 20 minutes. While watching or shooting comedy scenes, I literally roll on the floor laughing, and the shoot has been halted many times.” 

What is Pseudobulbar Affect?

Pseudobulbar Affect is a neurological condition that causes uncontrollable episodes of laughing or crying that are unrelated to the individual's current emotional state. These episodes can be sudden, intense, and inappropriate for the situation. The laughter or crying may also be out of proportion to the stimulus or trigger.

PBA is a separate condition from mental health disorders like depression or bipolar disorder. It often co-occurs with other neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury (TBI), or stroke.

Causes of Pseudobulbar Affect

The exact cause of PBA is still unknown, but it is believed to be related to damage or disruption in the brain's pathways that control emotional expression. This damage can occur due to various neurological conditions or injuries.

Symptoms of Pseudobulbar Affect

The main symptom of PBA is sudden and uncontrollable episodes of laughing or crying. These episodes can last from a few seconds to several minutes and can occur multiple times a day. The laughter or crying may also be accompanied by physical symptoms such as facial twitching, body spasms, or tightness in the chest.

Individuals with PBA often feel embarrassed and frustrated by their lack of control over these emotional outbursts. They may also withdraw from social situations to avoid potential triggers and judgment from others.

The severity of PBA symptoms can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience mild episodes, while others may have more frequent and intense outbursts.

Managing Pseudobulbar Affect

The first step in managing PBA is proper diagnosis. Unfortunately, PBA is often misdiagnosed as a mental health disorder, leading to ineffective treatment. If you or a loved one experiences uncontrollable episodes of laughing or crying, it is crucial to consult a doctor who specializes in neurological conditions to get a proper diagnosis.

ALSO READ: What is rare sensorineural nerve hearing loss? Know causes, symptoms and more

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