A very odd one regarding uncontrollable laughing.

Hey there guys.

I believe I’m in the middle of a relapse right now, as symptoms worse and new symptoms presenting (Like sudden breathlessness when sitting in a chair watching telly) I’m also in the middle of swapping over my anti depressant medications so have had a short period with no pills to prop me up, and am finding my emotions very ‘raw’ right now.

As well as the usual mood going down, it’s also now started going up.

Today I’ve I have a ‘need’ to laugh. It’s not a ‘want’ to laugh, hard to explain but I guess it’s kind of like thirst. A want to drink is a choice you make, take it or leave it. A need to drink is a clear thirst symptom. It’s odd and probably incomprehensible but this is the best way I can describe it.

Whilst to me it feels like uncontrollable laughter it wouldn’t meet the official description as all of the information I can find about it says that uncontrollable laughter doesn’t need any trigger at all.

I need a trigger for mine, and when it’s triggered I can’t stop laughing. After the initial laugh triggered by whatever, the emotional aspect of the laugh goes away and leaves me feeling well fairly emotionless, flat. I just sit there laughing my head off and unable to stop. A laugh that runs away from you.

It’s a pain in the bum. Like hiccoughs the first few are amusing, then you just want to tell your body to stop it

The reason I’m considering a possibility that this is a symptom rather than me just being in a happy mood, is because I’ve had this ‘need’ before. About 15-20 years ago living at home with parents, triggerd by something said at the dinner table I would trigger a laugh which runs away from me. Again once I’d started I couldn’t stop. I clearly remember episodes where I had to leave the table because even though I didn’t have the happy emotion anymore, I couldn’t stop laughing. These incidents weres spaced out in time, happened once in a blue moon over a period of couple of short years, before it they disappeared. I’d almost forgotten totally about this memory but this kind of thing sticks in your mind.

It is a reasonable possibility that I was showing initial indications of ms long before this point to do with circulation:

My mum tells me that when I was a very young child, she used to get extremely worried about me as I frequently used to “turn blue” and on more than one occassion she had to stick me in the bath often to get warm again. (Nothing that ever happened to any of my other three siblings)

I’ve never had great circulation and regularly lose feeling in extremities purely due to temperature not ms. It might now surprise you, but since developing MS I have also been diagnosed with raynauds.

Wikipedia states that in secondary raynauds: “It is important to realize that Raynaud’s can herald these diseases by periods of more than twenty years in some cases, making it effectively their first presenting symptom”

There could be link between my historic circulation issues and my ms or not.

There could be a link between my historic laughter episodes and my ms, or more likely not.

But you never know, the person sitting right next to you might be having the same thing.

I was just wondering if anyone else has this ‘need’ to laugh a laugh that then gets away from you? Just curious more than anything.

Thankyou if you read this <3


i had hysterical laughter a few years ago.

i was told its called - damn forgotten the word - it is a symptom.

lability - its called lability

as you can see my current symptom is losing words!

never a dull moment eh?

carole x

Hi, I recently read somewhere, that uncontrollable laughter can be a symptom of MS. I was quite surprised to learn that.

Have a google and see what you can find.

I do know someone with MS, who has this symtom, but I`m not naming any names, incase I offend them.


I’ve also had problems uncontrollable laughter, although I’m glad it doesn’t happen that often. On the worst occasion it wasn’t part of a relapse, or it was the only symptom if it was part of a relapse. I’d start to laugh, stop, then start again as soon as hubby asked what I was laughing at. After a while it became very distressing, especially as I’m asthmatic and laughter can bring on an asthma attack. I can’t remember how long the problem lasted, but I’m fairly sure it happened on-and-off for a number of days.

Yes, it’s definitely an MS thing. I don’t know if it counts as a relapse symptom, though.

Thank you all so much for your answers, makes me feel a tad more normal :slight_smile:

Hya… also forget what it’s called… but agree with others… normal for MS.

It is awful when it happpens. I used to get it at work and people looked at me like I was mad… tears running down my face and doubled-up with laughter. It was very scary as at that time I had no idea I had MS.

Mine went away and only occasionally returns… so hope yours goes soon.

Pat x

No, not funny at all, apparently it affects about 10% of us!

I remember seeing something recently about meds for this, hopefully this is the link :slight_smile:


Hope it helps

Sonia x

I’m currently experiencing uncontrollable bouts of laughter. My family found it funny at first but now it scares them. They only last for minutes but are extremely embarrassing and can be painful or I end up breathless or coughing and clearing my throat. I’ve been referred to a neurologist as I have had no diagnosis. I also get tingling and numbness in my arm and I also shake my head unknowingly. Currently on a 30 week wait for neurology but looking at paying for a private initial appointment as it is becoming very frequent now.

Hello Llamos18, and welcome to the forum.

The condition you’re talking about is called Pseudobulbar Affect, AKA Emotional Labilit

Here’s a lnk to a page of information on the MS Trust website.

I don’t know if other conditions can cause this symptom as well as MS. Have a read, but try to resist the temptation to self diagnose, you must leave that to a professional.


Thank you for the link. Someone else has mentioned pseudobulbar but as I said I’m awaiting an appointment with a neurologist. Just trying to get an idea of what I can do to ease or help or if others are experiencing the same. I feel like I’m going crazy and don’t want to burden family/friends by letting them know it does bother/worry me. Thank you for the help


This is one of these symptoms that is hard to manage. If something starts me laughing I can not stop and I also have an unstoppable cry reflex to the most innocuous things. It can be embarrassing and flipping annoying. I will look at the links above and try to find a way to manage this emmotional incontinence.

Good luck



this is something i have experienced for several years. nowadays i just go with it as cant do anything else! most recent was laughing uncontrollably whilst trying to order food. i wasnt on my own so pal stepped in and ordered saying something like ‘shes fine but whilst shes laughing i will order’. but not ideal depending on the situation. i have just shook my head and returned later. its something that needs to be dealt with uniquely depending on the situation.

i find others deal better with the tears rather than the laughter both both are not easy to cope with.


1 Like

Oh its a weird one, which i had on and off for a couple of years. It called emotional liability. Laughing or crying for no apparent reason. The worst part for me was… I’d end up crying ! Couldn’t pin point the transition, but would end up really upset. One occasion hubby asked if i was laughing or crying… i answered with … i don’t know. But when it gets to the point of sounding like you’ve had your vocal cords cut its scary. Lynn x

Wish the wife could get a dose of this !

oh you’re naughty lol

Hi Inactive User and the rest of you,

I’ve never heard of the laughing symptom and have never had it so thanks for discussing it.

Yes, I’ve got secondary Raynaud’s . Remember as a child having very cold hands and feet.

I now take Nifedipine in the Winter, maybe ask your Dr about it.