Content » Vol 30, Issue 3

Treatment of emotionalism with fluoxetine during rehabilitation

Tsai WC, Lai JS, Wang TG
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, R.O.C
DOI: 10.1080/165019779830145149


Emotionalism (emotional lability) is a common but distressing phenomenon that occurs frequently in individuals suffering cerebral vascular accidents and other brain diseases. Patients with emotionalism sometimes embarrass their families and themselves, becoming socially disabled despite normal physical function. At its worst, emotionalism interferes with rehabilitation programs, delays progress and sometimes makes these programs impossible. This paper reports the effect of fluoxetine in treating three patients with persistent emotionalism (2 cases following cerebrovascular accidents, 1 case following encephalitis). All 3 patients demonstrated dramatic improvement in emotionalism within 6 days of treatment. The severity, frequency and duration of each episode were reduced greatly. The treatment improved the effectiveness of the rehabilitation program, relieved patient and family embarrassment, and enabled patients to resume rapidly their previous lifestyle patterns. All patients reached the functional goals planned prior to the onset of rehabilitation. We conclude that fluoxetine is highly effective in treating the symptoms of emotionalism in all patients, and allows for recovery of both physical and social function.

Lay Abstract


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