Cureus. 2022 Feb 7;14(2):e21978. doi: 10.7759/cureus.21978. eCollection 2022 Feb.
Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) is an affective disorder of emotional expression characterized by frequent uncontrollable outbursts of laughing or crying. It is usually associated with stroke, traumatic brain injury, and other neurological conditions. This disorder can present a challenge to clinicians to distinguish this from mood disorders or to diagnose this disorder in the context of underlying mood disorders. In addition, the delay in the diagnosis can impact patients’ quality of life. We describe a 48-year-old man who presented with frequent episodes of sudden, frequent, uncontrollable laughing two years after his recurrent stroke. The patient initially had his first stroke about three years ago and had a recurrent stroke eight months after his first stroke. A few days after getting discharged after his second stroke, the patient was admitted to the psychiatric unit after his family members reported aggressive behavior. The patient also reported symptoms of depression and was discharged on escitalopram for mood and divalproex for his aggressive behavior. Unfortunately, the patient was not compliant with these medications with no resolution of his symptoms. The patient was then treated with dextromethorphan-quinidine, escitalopram, and divalproex, resulting in significant improvement in his mood and aggressive behavior with a resolution of uncontrollable laughing spells. Clinicians are encouraged to inquire about symptoms of pseudobulbar affect in the context of stroke or other neurological disorders. Appropriate management of this condition can help improve patients’ symptoms and positively affect their wellbeing.
Source: ncbi 2