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Pathological Laughing and Crying Post-stroke: Liaison Psychiatrist Beware

Author(s): Arina Bingelien, Colin M Shapiro, Sanjeev Sockalingam, Raed J Hawa

Pathological laughing and crying (PLC) has been known by a number of different names, but the most widely used terms are “pseudobulbar affect,” “emotional lability,” “emotional incontinence,” and “pathological laughing and crying.” The cardinal feature of PLC is a pathologically lowered threshold for the exhibition of behavioral responses that include laughter, crying, or both. An affected individual exhibits episodes of laughter and / or crying without an apparent motivating stimulus or in response to stimuli that would not have elicited such an emotional response before the onset of their underlying neurologic disorder. Symptoms of PLC can be severe, and episodes can be persistent and unremitting.

PLC is a clinical condition that occurs in patients with various neurological disorders. The majority of evidence relates to stroke patients. The review summarizes the available data about pharmacological and behavioral treatment efficiency for this condition. Furthermore the management of these patients adds a rich avenue to the future understanding of emotional behavior.

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