What is PBA?

Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA) is a medical condition causing sudden, frequent, uncontrollable
crying and/or laughing that doesn’t match how the person feels.

Because PBA is often misunderstood, help starts with educating yourself on what it is. PBA can happen in people with a brain injury or certain neurologic conditions. PBA often occurs alongside mood disorders, like depression, but it’s important to know that PBA and depression are two are separate conditions that should be diagnosed and managed separately.

Spouses
Marilyn is there for Jim in sickness and in health, including when he has a crying episode in public.
Read Their Story
Read Their Story
are caregivers.

Understand the impact.

Observe the impact PBA episodes could have on your loved one’s life.

  • Are they avoiding social events?
  • Are they not going out in public as much as they used to?
  • Do they suddenly dread going to work?
  • Have their daily routines changed since the episodes started?
Share details with their doctor. It’s critical to making an accurate PBA diagnosis.

What small actions can you take to make a big difference?

Caregivers are advocates.
Lori advocated for her husband at his doctor’s appointments. And she continues to advocate for all PBA patients, so they get the help they need and deserve.
Read Their Story
Read Their Story

Research

all you can about PBA.

  • If you or your loved one haven’t yet take the PBA quiz
  • Understand the differences between PBA and depression and how someone can have both.
  • Join Our PBA Support Group on Facebook, where you can meet other people living with or affected by PBA.
  • If all the signs point to PBA, encourage your loved one to make an appointment with a doctor.

Advocate

for your loved one’s health care.

  • If you’re able to, go to the doctor’s appointment with your loved one.
  • Discuss with their doctor the impact their episodes have had on their daily routines.
  • If you can’t accompany them to their appointment, help write down notes for them to share with the doctor so they can advocate for themselves.

Support

your loved one in social situations.

  • Make a plan ahead of time, together.
  • Find a private place to take a break if they feel an episode coming on.
  • Take the lead on the situation and leave with your loved one if it becomes too much for them.
  • Let them know you are not embarrassed by them.

Make an appointment with their health care provider.

Your general practitioner can make a referral to a specialist such as:

  • Neurologist
  • Neuropsychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Internist

Remember: PBA can be managed, but a doctor needs to make the diagnosis.

PBA Quiz

Wondering if someone you care for might have PBA? This 7-question quiz can be used to start productive conversations with a health care provider.

I’m taking this quiz for:
There are times when I feel fine one minute, and then I'll become tearful the next over something small or for no reason at all.
There are times when the person seems to feel fine one minute, and then becomes tearful the next over something small or for no reason at all.

Others have told me that I seem to become amused very easily or that I seem to become amused about things that really aren't funny.

Others have told the person that they seem to become amused very easily or about things that really aren’t funny.

I find myself crying very easily.

The person finds himself/herself crying very easily.

I find that even when I try to control my laughter, I am often unable to do so.

The person finds that, even when they try to control their laughter, they are often unable to do so.

There are times when I won’t be thinking of anything happy or funny at all, but will suddenly be overcome by funny or happy thoughts.

There are times when the person I care for won’t be thinking of anything happy or funny at all, but will suddenly be overcome by funny or happy thoughts.

I find that even when I try to control my crying, I am often unable to do so.

The person finds that, even when they try to control their crying, they are often unable to do so.

I find that I am easily overcome by laughter.

The person finds that they are easily overcome by laughter.

Yes, I would like to receive promotional and/or educational information from Avanir related to Avanir products and services, and related disease states.

I understand my information will be used and/or disclosed in accordance with the Privacy Policy and that I may update my preferences at any time in accordance with the Privacy policy

I’d like to receive a one-time email of my quiz results.

I’d like to receive my quiz results and I would like to receive promotional and/or educational information from Avanir related to Avanir products and services, and related disease states.

I understand my information will be used and/or disclosed in accordance with the Privacy Policy and that I may update my preferences at any time in accordance with the Privacy policy
24 35
You scored out of 35

In studies, scores of 13 or higher were more likely to suggest PBA.

This score does not diagnose PBA, and lower or higher scores can occur in people with and without PBA. Your doctor will still need to determine if you have PBA.

Yes, I would like to receive promotional and/or educational information from Avanir related to Avanir products and services, and related disease states.

I understand my information will be used and/or disclosed in accordance with the Privacy Policy and that I may update my preferences at any time in accordance with the Privacy policy
Thank you. So you have your quiz responses handy, we will send you a reminder of your results before your doctor's appointment.
In the meantime, consider joining our PBA Support Group - a community for caregivers and patients to share resources, experiences, and tips on handling Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA).
Thank you for taking the PBA quiz
Check your email inbox for your quiz results and doctor discussion guide.
MLR-PBA-US-0478-0121 MLR-PBA-US-0465-1220 MLR-PBA-US-0466-1220

The Center for Neurologic Study-Lability Scale (CNS-LS) was developed by healthcare professionals to identify and measure PBA symptoms. It does not diagnose PBA and is not intended to substitute for professional medical assessment and/or advice. Please consult with your doctor.

Meet Our Caregivers

Each of our real caregivers play an important role in the life of their loved one. Read their stories below.

The Partner

The Cheerleader

The Champion

Have your own caregiver story?

If you’re interested in sharing your story as a caregiver, learn how you can become a PBA Ambassador

Learn more

The Partner

Jim has PBA. Marilyn is his spouse.

Marilyn and her husband Jim had been married for three weeks when he had two strokes in 2013. That’s when she became a caregiver. “Jim’s symptoms began after that, uncontrollable crying or laughing—he had never done that before,” says Marilyn. She remembers him having symptoms just two or three days after his stroke, while he was still in his hospital bed. “Our friends came to visit, and he had some pretty bad episodes, so we knew something was wrong.”

Jim’s doctors were familiar with PBA, so they were able to explain to him what he had. “Having a name put on the issue gave me hope. When you cannot put a name on something, you feel like you’re in limbo”

Marilyn helps Jim by being accepting and supportive of his condition, which has helped him remain social. “He continues to go to social activities, such as shopping, going to church, being out with friends. He feels bad when it happens. I think at first, he thought it was embarrassing for me and I told him it’s not. It’s improved so much.”


I think at first he thought it was embarrassing for me, and I told him it’s not.


The Cheerleader

Amy has PBA. Laura is her friend.

The first thing Laura remembers about Amy when they met at 18 was that she could dance like Axl Rose. “I thought she was the coolest chick ever.” Though they now live in different states, they’ve been friends ever since.

Laura remembers getting the news of Amy’s big accident. “It was terrible, scary,” she says.

Soon after, when Amy started not being able to control her laughing and crying, they would talk about it on the phone. “We both thought it was part of her brain injury. We didn’t understand it was a separate disorder,” Laura says. It wasn’t until Amy saw a PBA awareness commercial that she had a name for it.

“She called me one day and said, ‘I found out what’s going on, it’s PBA,” Laura says. She started doing her own research, “and everything I read was her down to a T.” Amy was able to get the support of her doctor, and the help she needed.

Laura has been a consistent support for Amy though phone calls, texts, and frequent visits. “She’s my best friend, and I’m five hours older than her, so she’s got to take care of me,” says Amy.


We didn’t understand it was a separate disorder.


The Champion

Lori’s husband has PBA.

When Lori’s husband started laughing and crying 15 years after his Parkinson’s diagnosis, she thought maybe he was just an emotional person. It took a while to figure out he also has PBA.

“It was a little crying here or there, maybe from a commercial, or when the grandkids walked in,” Lori says. Then, it was constant. Explaining it to the little ones wasn’t easy. “Papa just cries sometimes,” she’d tell them. Then they’d say, “Oh Papa, oh Papa.” And then he would try to help them feel better by saying he was OK. “It was hard on everyone,” she says.

At first his doctor suspected depression. But Lori and her husband both knew that wasn’t it. “He was a little sad here or there, but as quick as it came, that’s as quick as it stopped.”

“I had to be his advocate.” She talked further to the doctor about her husband’s experiences. The conversation helped him to diagnose her husband with PBA.

Now her favorite moments are when they’re together eating dinner, or traveling or going out socially, “which was hard before his diagnosis,” she says. “But now it’s a lot easier.”


I didn’t know what was going on with him.


Do I have PBA?

This 7-question quiz could help you start a conversation with your doctor about PBA.

Take the PBA Quiz