Sometimes I can laugh and cry
And I can't remember why
But I still love those
Good times gone by
Hold on to them close or let them go

Lyrics courtesy of James Taylor and his song Places In My Past from the album Mud Slide Slim

I wish there was a better name for this affliction. It would make it easier to write about and you have to admit that when you see the words Pseudobulbar affect on the page it doesn’t really make you want to go much further. However, for those of you who are still with me, I’ll strive my best to make this as interesting as I can.

Pseudobulbar affect (from now on it will be referred to as PBA, much easier to type) is an neurological disorder in which sufferers cannot control episodes of laugher and/or crying. Usually these spells last for several minutes and can happen several times on any given day. The person doing the laughing or crying has no idea why they are doing it or what caused it in the first place.

The description over at Wiki went so far to use the term “emotional incontinence” to describe PBA. That pretty damn cold if you ask me.

Chances are that a person who has the crying side of PBA might have been misdiagnosed as suffering from depression. However, depression is much more likely to last longer and is more debilitating than PBA is.

Individuals suffering from PBA are also likely to have a more limited social life since they never know when the symptoms may hit.

Recent studies indicate that people who suffer from ALS, MS, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson’s and stroke victims are more susceptible to come down with PBA. It’s estimated that in the United States alone, approximately two million people currently suffer with the condition.

There is hope though. The FDA approved a drug called “Nuedexta” that will help treat the disease but not eliminate it entirely. Of course, there are certain side effects that you might experience if you take the drug. Here’s just a sampling of them :

  • severe dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeat;
  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
  • pain or burning when you urinate;
  • fever, chills, flu symptoms, nausea, vomiting, feeling light-headed;
  • nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools,
  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • agitation, hallucinations, fever, fast heart rate, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, fainting;
  • joint pain or swelling with fever, swollen glands, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, unusual thoughts or behavior, and/or seizure (convulsions).
  • After reading those, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    I guess I don’t have PBA…

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