What’s going on in the mind of the Joker?

Here is the answer…

What’s going on in the mind of the Joker?


Did you watch Joker with Joaquin Phoenix? Maybe you are thinking… what’s going on in the mind of this character? And the answer is Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA).

Pseudobulbar Affect is a nervous system disorder that can make you laugh and cry at the same time, or suddenly become angry without being able to control when it happens.

Most of the time the episodes of laughing and crying have a triggering event (seeing or hearing something sad or funny), but as the disease progresses these episodes can be long and more intense than would ordinarily be expected.

PBA (Pseudobulbar Affect) can have a high impact on the lives of those experiencing the condition, and on their family and friends. It can cause guilty and anxiety, they can’t work or have a normal social life.


Pseudobulbar Affect Causes

Experts believe that Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA) may result from damage to the prefrontal cortex, the area of your brain that helps control emotions. 

An injury or disease that affects your brain can lead to Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA). Other brain conditions linked to PBA  (Pseudobulbar Affect) could be:

  • Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia
  • Brain tumors
  • Cerebellar lesions
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Neurosyphilis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury


Symptoms of Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA)?

It is easy to mistake the symptoms for those of Depression or Bipolar Disorder.

If you or someone you love has Pseudobulbar Affect, you might notice:

  • Sudden, intense fits of crying or laughter that aren’t controlled or doesn't seem right for the situation
  • Outbursts of frustration and anger
  • Facial expressions that don't match emotions


When to see a doctor

If you have a neurological condition, talk to your Doctor. It's suspected that many cases of Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA)  go unreported and undiagnosed due to a lack of awareness about the condition.


Living With Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA)

To help you and your family ease anxiety during a PBA (Pseudobulbar Affectepisode), and to feel more in control of your health, try these steps:

  • Talk to people around you about PBA and how it affects you and your family.
  • Track your episodes in a diary, how long they lasted and the triggers. This will help when you talk to your Doctor.
  • Talk with other people who have PBA.
  • If you feel a laughing or crying attack coming on, change your position, stand or sit, create yourself a distractor.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply, until you feel in control.
  • Relax your shoulders and forehead after one happens.