Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) is a neurological condition involving involuntary, sudden and frequent episodes of laughing or crying. It occurs secondary to neurological disease – meaning that PBA is caused by another disorder – and is most commonly found in patients with:
Research indicates PBA involves an injury to the neurological pathways that regulate the external expression of emotion – almost like a kind of “network disruption.”
Normally, the cerebral cortex (at the front of the brain) communicates with the cerebellum (at the back of the brain) to control our emotional responses to situations. But, sometimes, the cerebellum becomes damaged by lesions or nerve problems, disrupting communication between these two areas. PBA is thought to result from this miscommunication. It’s almost like the brain “short circuits” and one can no longer control their emotional response.