Tips for Living with PBA

Keep an episode diary to help you and your doctor to understand what may trigger your episodes. 
Click here to print out a convenient diary form.

Be open about it. Let people know that you cannot always control your crying or laughing because of a neurologic condition. This can help ensure that people are not surprised, confused or insulted.

Distract yourself. If you feel an episode coming on, try to focus on something unrelated.

Breathe. Take slow deep breaths until you are in control.

Relax. Release the tension in your forehead, shoulders, and other muscle groups that tense up during a PBA episode.

Change your body positions. Note the posture you take when having an episode. When you think you are about to cry or laugh, change your position. 

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.

What can you do to help a loved one with PBA?

Relate. If someone you love has PBA, he or she may be embarrassed by his or her outbursts and reluctant to talk about his or her condition. You can help by letting that person know you understand that his or her episodes are involuntary and are not something they can control.

Remind. You can also remind your loved one that PBA is a neurologic condition, not a mental state, and can occur  when certain underlying neurologic diseases or injuries damage the areas of the brain that control normal expression  of emotions. This damage can disrupt brain signaling, causing a ‘short circuit’, triggering his or her episodes of involuntary crying or laughing.

Reassure. Finally, you can reassure your loved one that he or she is not alone. Nearly 2 million people suffer from the symptoms of PBA. They are looking for answers about this condition and ways to cope with it. And many of these PBA patients have loved ones who, like you, want to let them know that PBA does not change the way you feel about them.