Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Emotional Lability

  • Robert G. FrankEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_2090


Emotional incontinence; Pathological laughing and crying


Emotional lability is defined as rapid emotional change, most often associated with changes in affect related to injury or neurological conditions. Lability is observed conditions such as CVA, traumatic brain injury, neurocognitive disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder. When characterized by uncontrolled laughing and/or crying that is disproportionate to the situation, it is called as pseudobulbar affect. Pseudobulbar affect is a disinhibition syndrome associated with pathways involving of serotonin and glutamate, but the pathways are not fully understood. The difference between pathological crying and depression is not well defined. In general, depression is characterized by much longer duration. Pseudobulbar affect does not present with sleep disturbance or loss of appetite. Prevalence estimates vary from 9.4% to 37.5% indicating as many as 7.1 million Americans may...

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References and Reading

  1. Ahmed, A., & Simmons, Z. (2013). Pseudobulbar affect: Prevalence and management. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, 9, 483–489.  https://doi.org/10.2147/TCRM.S53906.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Caplan, B. (2009). Rehabilitation psychology and neuropsychology with stroke survivors. In R. G. Frank, M. Rosenthal, & B. Caplan (Eds.), Handbook of rehabilitation psychology (2nd ed., pp. 63–94). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  3. Morris, P., Robinson, R. G., & Raphael, B. (1993). Emotional lability after stroke. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 27(4), 601–605.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Silver, J., Arciniegas, D., & Yudovsky, S. (2005). Psychopharmacology. In J. Silver, T. McAllister, & S. Yudovsky (Eds.), Textbook of traumatic brain injury. Arlington: American Psychiatric.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA