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Functional neurological disorder (FND)



Functional neurological disorder (FND) is a condition in which a person experiences neurological symptoms, such as weakness, tremors, or seizures, without any apparent underlying neurological condition. FND is thought to be caused by a disruption in the way the brain and body communicate, rather than by a structural or neurological problem. The prevalence rates reported range from 0.1% to 2% of the population. FND is a relatively common condition that affects people of all ages and genders, and it is more common in women than men.


There are many sub-types, with a mix of neurological symptoms and disorders. For some, symptoms are short-lived, while for others it can last for years. Commonly affected functions include:

  1. Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES): This type of FND is characterized by neurological symptoms such as weakness, paralysis, or seizures that cannot be explained by a neurological or medical condition.

  2. Functional Movement Disorder: This type of FND is characterized by abnormal movements, such as tremors, jerks, or dystonia, that are not caused by a neurological or medical condition.

  3. Sensory Symptoms: This type of FND is characterized by sensory disturbances, such as numbness, tingling, or pain, that are not caused by a neurological or medical condition.

  4. Cognitive Symptoms: This type of FND is characterized by cognitive symptoms, such as memory loss, confusion, or dissociation, that cannot be explained by a neurological or medical condition.

A team of professionals including neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, physiotherapists, and speech and language therapists will be involved in the assessment and treatment process. The type of professional involved depends on the type of function being affected. It is important to be transparent with your health professional in this process in explaining all the symptoms that you experience and their progression.


As there is no single treatment for this condition, individuals with FND may feel lost, alone, and unsupported. There are helpful communities online with shared lived experiences that may help.

  1. FND Hope: FND Hope is a non-profit organization that provides support, education, and advocacy for individuals with FND and their families. They offer a range of resources, including online support groups, webinars, and educational materials.

  2. FND Dimensions: FND Dimensions is a UK-based organization that provides support and advocacy for individuals with FND. They offer a range of resources, including online support groups, educational materials, and a peer mentoring program.

  3. Functional Neurological Disorder Society: The Functional Neurological Disorder Society is a global organization that promotes research, education, and advocacy for individuals with FND. They offer a range of resources, including webinars, educational materials, and an online community forum.

  4. FND Action: FND Action is a UK-based organization that provides support, advocacy, and awareness for individuals with FND. They offer a range of resources, including online support groups, educational materials, and a helpline for individuals and families affected by FND.

  5. FND United: FND United is a US-based non-profit organization that provides support, advocacy, and awareness for individuals with FND. They offer a range of resources, including online support groups, educational materials, and a peer support program.

Finally, FND can be a challenging condition to manage, but there are some ideas that may make it more tolerable.

  1. Seek support: Reach out to friends, family, or a mental health professional for emotional support. Joining a support group, either online or in person, can also be helpful in connecting with others who are experiencing similar challenges.

  2. Educate yourself: Learn as much as you can about FND, including the symptoms, causes, and treatments. This can help you better understand your condition and feel more in control of your symptoms.

  3. Practice relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can exacerbate FND symptoms.

  4. Stay active: Regular exercise, such as walking, swimming, or yoga, can help improve physical function and reduce symptoms of FND. Speak with a healthcare professional about what type and amount of exercise is best for you.

  5. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and avoiding alcohol and drugs can help improve overall health and reduce FND symptoms.

  6. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of therapy that can help individuals identify and challenge negative thoughts and behaviors that may be contributing to FND symptoms.

  7. Occupational Therapy: An occupational therapist can help individuals with FND develop strategies for managing symptoms and improving daily function.

  8. Focus on what you can do: Focusing on what you are still able to do, rather than what you can't do, can help boost self-esteem and improve overall mood.

  9. Be patient: Recovery from FND can be a slow process, and it's important to be patient and kind to yourself. Celebrate small victories and focus on progress rather than perfection.

Remember, coping with FND is a process that may require trial and error. Speak with a healthcare professional about what strategies or treatments may work best for you. With time, patience, and support, it is possible to manage FND symptoms and improve quality of life. Get in touch if you want to know more.

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