An estimated 2 million Americans suffer from a little-known neurological condition called psuedobulbar affect (PBA), but many of them do not even know it.
People with PBA experience involuntary bouts of crying, laughter, or episodic anger, according to the American Stroke Association. These outbursts are uncontrollable and can occur without any type of emotional trigger - they may be out of proportion, mood incongruent, or involve rapid switching between laughing and crying.
"The people who are at risk for developing PBA are people who have an underlying neurologic condition," said Dr. Andrew Stalker, a neurologist at Northeastern Ohio College of Medicine.
PBA occurs secondary to neurological conditions such as stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's disease, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis (MS), dementia, Wilson's disease or brain tumors, the American Stroke Association said on its website.