PSP Association

Uncontrollable laughter

Does anyone with PSP get bouts of uncontrollable laughter? My husband does this usually when things are going wrong.e.g His balance is going when I'm trying to transfer him to a chair or his legs just won't move. I know this can happen with PSP or it could be aggression which would be worse. It's quite frustrating when it happens.

His rigidity and stiffness are stil a major problem and we have just started Clonazepan to see if that helps.We tried Baclofen (really bad reaction) and Diazepam (very sleepy all day) He seems very sensitive to these.


12 Replies

It is quite common for people with PSP to have bouts of laughter or crying, this can be difficult to cope with or understand for those around.


Yes, I have PSP, and laugh all the time. The problem seems to be that nobody knows what is happening to me, or why I am laughing about it when I would prefer to cry... But, like they say, '"it is better to laugh than cry" or so I have heard...


Hi Brian you are absolutely right --better to laugh than cry. Can I ask- when you do laugh does your inner self really want to cry ?

It is very frustrating as nobody knows why it happens.

All good wishes Jill


Yes, I want to cry because it seems so pathetic that I find myself in such a situation, but it comes out as uncontrollable laughter...

My advice: Don't take it personally...


Hi Brian,

My husband laughs all of the time and my daughter and I laugh with him. He seems to think things are funny so we believe it is okay to laugh with him, He laughs when he makes a terrible mess and we sometimes feel like crying because we have to clean it up but we laugh with him. I am hoping that we are not upsetting him more if he truly would rather be crying. How are you doing and how long have you had PSP?


I was diagnosed with PSP a year ago, and I am still laughing. Even though I have become mostly non-verbal, I can still write (many thanks to spell-check)...

And no, you are not upsetting him more... I have made some terrible messes, and it actually helps me to laugh about it with my significant caregiver, even though I would like to cry...

I have been on a trial of coq10 here in the USA, although it may not be working... I joined this forum to see what else I can do, before it all slips away...


Thank you Brian for your answer. I am so sorry that you have this illness. I will keep you in my prayers. It helps to know that I am not making Dave more upset by my laughing. This is do difficult and I cant even imagine how you and Dave must feel with this PSP. Take care of yourself and I am happy to hear that you have a significant caregiver.




By the way, Dave is also taking COQ10 1600 mg daily and I believe that it helps him


So, are there any other medications that may be of help? I am going to see my neurologist in Boston on August 1, and I may ask to be taken off the coq10 and the Sinemet (carbo-dopa) because they don't seem to work...


If it's any consolation, although the bouts of uncontrollable laugher can be really annoying for both the suffererer and the carer, they will pass. I used to find it very difficult to cope with my husband when I was struggling to help him in some way - and he would be pulling away and laughing at ME (or so I thought). Many times I felt as though I really wanted to hit him to shut him up as I was so tired and exhausted. Gradually over a few months, these periods of laughter subsided and he became more quiet and cooperative.

I suppose the various parts of the brain that are being affected by the PSP, become agitated or irritated by the changes going on; hence the bouts of laughter (or in some, crying). I think looking back, I'm glad it was laughter.

Hope this has helped. Maggie


Maggieh, thanks for your reply.I do agree that it's better that we have husbands who laugh rather than cry but another gentleman wrote that he laughs but feels like crying?

It really does help to know that our problems are not unusual to us.

best wishes Jill


We do see "emotional lability" in PSP and CBD. While it isn't fully understood some people living with PSP/CBD do respond well to antidepressants as they can help to level ones mood. Do discuss this with your neurologist or nurse specialist. Some antidepressants are contraindicated if you are taking Parkinson's medications so you will need advice regarding this (and many GP's will not be familiar with these types of medications as PSP/CBD are rare illnesses).

PSPA Nurse.


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