Emotional reactions after a
stroke may be different from normal emotional
The reaction may have little or no clear
connection with what is happening around the person.
reactions can be easily interrupted by diverting the person's attention.
People who have had a stroke-usually in the front part of the brain
or in the brain stem-can suddenly cry or laugh for no clear reason. When the behaviour has nothing to do with what a person is feeling or doing, it is called pseudobulbar affect (PBA).
PBA is caused by a brain problem.
Fits of crying or laughing are out of a person's control. Crying happens most often.
Medicine may be needed to
help control emotional responses.
Crying can also be a symptom of
depression, which is a medical condition that often gets better with treatment. If depression is not treated, it can interfere with recovery. And it can have a
big impact on how much a person enjoys life.
People who have had a stroke may act differently. A person may:
Become grouchy, confused, or
Sometimes have false beliefs
See or hear things that aren't there (hallucinations).
This is more likely to occur when someone has to stay in bed for long
periods of time. And it is more likely to be a problem at night. A radio
playing softly in the bedroom or a dim light beside the bed may be helpful
during the night.
If you notice that your loved one has a sudden change in emotion or mental state, it may be delirium. If you have questions or concerns, call your doctor.
Towfighi A, et al. (2016). Poststroke depression: A scientific statement for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke, published online December 8, 2016. DOI: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000113. Accessed April 5, 2017.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerRichard D. Zorowitz, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation