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How do you prevent pseudobulbar affect, or PBA?

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Quick Answer

Uncontrollable crying or laughing episodes from the pseudobulbar affect, or PBA, are sometimes prevented by distraction, slow breathing, relaxation or changing body position, according to the National Stroke Association. However, the actual condition results from strokes or other neurological damage, and it is not preventable except by avoiding neurological damage or illness. Doctors treat the condition with antidepressants and other drugs, as Healthline indicates.

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PBA occurs when patients experience uncontrollable and often inappropriate emotional displays following a stroke or a neurological disease, according to the National Stroke Association. Treating the condition starts by recognizing that there is a problem. Since many patients are emotional after experiencing a stroke, keeping track of episodes is the first step to minimizing them.

ALS, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors and dementia also cause PBA in some patients, according to the American Stroke Association. Approved in 2011 specifically for the treatment of PBA, the drug dextromethorphan quinidine provides some relief from the condition faster and with fewer side effects than traditional antidepressants. However, patients with some varieties of heart arrhythmia or heart failure are unable to take dextromethorphan quinidine. Some common side effects of the medication include gastrointestinal distress, swelling in the hands or feet, dizziness and flu-like symptoms.

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