I’ve got PBA or emotional incontinence. I’ve got the crying type. I’ve found that it has stopped me being able to cry when I want to rather than crying about someone I don’t know or care about winning the lottery. Am I alone with this or do others have the same problem?

Hello Elise…love your name, I have a great great niece called Annalise…so pretty!

Anyway, I hadn’t heard of PBA. So I googled it. It didn’t tell me an awful lot, but that a neurological condition can cause crying and laughing, when you don’t feel particularly sad or amused.

Has your neuro given you any ideas on how to deal with it?

How does it affect your continence?

It must be very difficult to cope with.

I’ll have another Google.


As I understand what I’ve read, it doesn’t result in wetting yourself, does it?

Sometimes I cry at songs or films that seem sad.

But that is probably common.

I’m trying to understand more.


Hi Elise,

Studies suggest that approximately 10% of patients with MS will experience at least one episode of Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA).

Have you asked your GP or MS nurse what medications might help?

Or are you wanting to reach out to others with the same condition? Because, if the studies are right, there should be about 10,000 people in the UK who have experienced the same thing.

Best wishes,


Hi Elouise

​I’ve not heard anyone say it stops them from crying when they want to, but PBS has been discussed on the forum once or twice.

Here’s a short thread from April…


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its something i experience. laughing and crying inappropriately with no control over it. its affected me for 4 years now. i have learnt how to live with it. there was a period i was emotionless and that was hell! not just me but all around me. be honest with those u trust-my kids now say-ms tears or real ones? i can tell the difference now and they are of an age to understand by explaination.

i take no medication for it-feeling anything is better than that awful emotional numbness. if a stranger then its none of heir business!


yes i’ve heard of it.

my neuro called it lability.

i had it early in my diagnosis.

i’d be crying with laughter at things that weren’t funny or sobbing at things that weren’t sad.

if there was something very sad going on, i knew that i should be crying but i couldn’t.

it didn’t last long

carole x

I was wondering whether I had emotional lability because I’ve been crying so much recently. Cried with joy at least twice after the election results and cried more because I was so touched that my son went out canvassing for the local Labour candidate for six hours on election day. Have cried again and again when I’ve heard something new about what happened at Grenfell tower. Cried again yesterday after watching a piece by Jo Cox’s husband on the anniversary of her death. Also cried yesterday at the thought that my teenagers are going out into a world where four terrorist attacks in the UK in four months is the new normal. Really not sure whether it is me or the world that is messed up.

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Thank you for all your great comments. If I am cynical, I’d rather have the crying type, you get a bit more sympathy from people. I wouldn’t like to laugh at funerals! I have been on Citalopram but found that I wasn’t feeling anything, so titrated myself off them. What I am finding difficult is not being able to cry when I want too rather than crying over something that has nothing to do with me. There’s a drug approved by the FDA in America, Neudexta, but it was withdrawn by the manufacturer earlier this year. I’m not sure if there is anything else that can be prescribed. I’m seeing my consultant later in the year and will ask him then.

Thank you Polls, emotional incontinence isn’t to be confused with overactive bladder! I’ve got that too! But that is another story.

In the meantime I’ll keep on blubbing for Britain!

Thanks again


I’ve cried at all the awful recent events on TV.

Such a sad world our planet is. I doubt it is lability. It’s so difficult not to feel empathy for those involved.