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The Stroke Network
PO Box 492
Abingdon, MD 21009
affects the emotions. It can cause
lack of control of your emotions and an
improper response may happen at
inappropriate times. This is
Affect (PBA). PBA,
also known as
emotional lability, is a distinct
neurologic disorder that
causes involuntary crying
or uncontrollable episodes
of crying and/or laughing,
or other emotional displays.
It is estimated that nearly two million
Americans suffer with (PBA).
Stroke survivors are just one of several neurologic
conditions that suffer with this side-effect.
PBA doesn¨t discriminate. It can
affect men and women, old and young.
One of the biggest problems for the stroke survivor is that PBA
completely removes the control of their emotions. Damage
can disrupt brain signaling, causing a ｀short circuit¨, triggering
his or her episodes of inappropriate and
involuntary crying or laughing.
PBA episodes are typically spontaneous
crying or laughing eruptions that do not reflect the way a person is
actually feeling. They are inappropriate for a given situation, they
are exaggerated, more intense or last longer than the situation
The good news is that PBA is manageable and
treatable. Below are several tips to use in coping with PBA:
||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.
||Look away and distract yourself - If you feel an episode coming on,
look at something else and 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.
If your loved one has PBA,
let them know that this is a very common side-effect of stroke.
Tell them that most stroke survivors initially have this side-effect
after having one. You can help by letting that person
know you understand that his or her episodes are involuntary and are
not something they can control. Let them
know what the tips are for managing this problem. Talk to
their doctor about it. Anti-depressants have been known, when
properly administered, to greatly reduce the degree of PBA.
This, coupled with the above mentioned coping mechanisms can all but
make the stroke survivor feel that their PBA episodes are gone.
Time after stroke is another factor with PBA going away.
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.
Stroke Warning Signs
||Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially
on one side of the body
||Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
||Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
||Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or
||Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
Rated as a top 5 stroke
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