The purpose of this survey was to better understand the extent and impact of a particularly challenging neurological condition known to occur among people living with MS: pseudobulbar affect (PBA).
PBA is a condition that occurs in some people with certain neurological conditions, including MS, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), stroke, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer's disease and others. It is characterized by exaggerated and inappropriate laughter and/or crying. During these emotional outbursts, the magnitude of the response is typically too extreme for the situation, and/or it may be inappropriate for the setting - such as laughing at a funeral or crying at a funny movie. These episodes can occur frequently, suddenly, and uncontrollably. Because of the crying episodes, PBA is often mistaken for depression and as a result, PBA is under-recognized. Unpredictable PBA episodes can cause embarrassment and distress leading to a significant impact on a person's employment, family relationships, social interactions, and overall quality of life.