"Beyond Laughter and Tears," a documentary about Pseudobulbar Affect (PBA) premieres in Washington, D.C. presented by the Brain Injury Association of America and Avanir

Mar 14, 2016, 14:29 ET from Brain Injury Association of America from ,Avanir

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

Event will be held on March 15, 2016 at Union Station, Washington, D.C.
Cocktail reception at 6:00pm.
Screening at 7:00pm.

"It's bizarre for me to cry. I was considered the hard-core soldier. It's not for a reason. It's just all of a sudden, I feel emotional and start crying."- Christine Jones, suffering from PBA.

Most people laugh when they are happy and cry when they are sad.  But for 2 million Americans like veteran Christine Jones, who have symptoms of  PBA (Pseudobulbar Affect), crying and laughing aren't linked to and often are in direct contrast to their actual emotions. "Beyond Laughter and Tears" or BYLT, is the first documentary film to examine the daily struggle of Americans who live with PBA, a neurological condition that causes frequent, uncontrollable episodes of crying and/or laughing.  BYLT chronicles the lives of six people dealing with PBA (Pseudobulbar Affect), a condition which can occur among people who've suffered some sort of traumatic brain injury or a stroke, or who have certain other neurologic diseases such as ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's and Dementia.

While not necessarily physically debilitating, the "disruptive" nature of PBA episodes can have a significant effect on a person's ability to interact comfortably with others. Before her brain injury, "I was 100% hard core soldier all the way," says veteran Christine Johnson, until PBA caused her to cry uncontrollably at inappropriate moments. "I'm not feeling sad and yet here I am crying uncontrollably," remarks Dyanna Hurley of her PBA. Scott Lohan, who also lives with PBA, says of the incessant laughing that he experiences multiple times a day, "It actually hurts sometimes."  

People who suffer from PBA may have difficulty holding a job, attending social events and engaging with others in public settings. Some people suffering from PBA describe a daily life spent avoiding the company of others for fear of ridicule.

"I grew up around bikers and truckers and it's 'men don't cry,' you know? That's still part of me. If I'm not around other people, sometimes I can't get my mind to change gear and it'll go on and on and on and on and on and it just won't stop. I feel embarrassed, I feel like less of a man, I feel all those inadequacies and I'd leave the room and get away and hide," said Bobby Leech, suffering from PBA.

"'PBA is a treatable condition that can leave patients feeling bewildered when it has not been properly diagnosed.' The Brain Injury Association of America is pleased to partner with Avanir and the PBA Film Project to bring 'Beyond Laughter and Tears' to the attention of policymakers in Washington, D.C.," said Susan Connors, Brain Injury Association of America President/Chief Executive Officer.

Former TODAY SHOW health and fitness correspondent, Jenna Wolfe will conduct a Q and A with the patients after the screening. 

This event is being held on the eve of National Brain Injury Awareness Day, March 16th 2016.


SOURCE Brain Injury Association of America; Avanir