To enquire please call

0330 094 8749

Alternatively, you can complete our online form below

Close Icon
Understanding Functional Neurological Disorder
Understanding Functional Neurological Disorder

5 Jun 2024

Understanding Functional Neurological Disorder

Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) is a condition which affects the functioning of the nervous system and how the brain and body send and receive signals. It can present itself with a variety of neurological symptoms that are not necessarily caused by structural damage or disease of the nervous system but rather by a problem with how the nervous system is functioning.


What is Functional Neurological Disorder?

FND is a condition where patients experience neurological symptoms such as weakness, movement disorders, sensory symptoms and blackouts, all of which can cause significant distress and disability to an individual.

However, unlike neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson’s disease, FND is not caused by structural abnormalities or damage to the nervous system, but is instead caused by a functional issue, meaning that the nervous system is not working as it should.


What causes Functional Neurological Disorder?

The exact cause of FND is not well understood in the field, but it is believed to be multifactorial, involving a combination of biological, psychological and social factors. What we do now, however, is that the potential contributing factors can include:

  1. Stress and trauma: psychological stress and trauma are thought to play a significant role in the development of FND, with many patients reporting a history of traumatic events or significant stress prior to the onset of symptoms.
  2. Neurological vulnerability: whereby some individuals may have a neurological predisposition that makes them more susceptible to developing FND in response to stress or trauma.
  3. And functional brain changes: with research showing that there may be functional changes in the brain regions involved in emotion regulation, sensory processing and motor control in individuals with FND.


Are there different types of Functional Neurological Disorder?

Yes, FND can manifest itself in a number of different ways, and the symptoms can be categorised into the following different types:

  1. Motor symptoms: including weakness or paralysis, tremors, dystonia (abnormal muscle contractions) and gait abnormalities (problems with walking).
  2. Sensory symptoms: such as numbness, tingling or pain in various parts of the body.
  3. Seizures: in this case, these are known as non-epileptic seizures, and are episodes which epileptic seizures but are not caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
  4. Speech and vision symptoms: including problems with speech such as stuttering or aphonia (loss of voice) and visual disturbances such as blurred or double vision.
  5. And cognitive symptoms: whereby some patients may experience problems with memory, concentration and other cognitive functions.


Is Functional Neurological Disorder difficult to diagnose?

Unfortunately, yes, diagnosing FND can be challenging for several reasons. These include:

  1. There can often be an overlap with other conditions: as the symptoms of FND often mimic those of other neurological disorders, this makes it difficult to distinguish from conditions such as epilepsy, stroke or multiple sclerosis.
  2. There may be a lack of structural abnormalities: unlike many neurological conditions, FND does not show up on standard neurological tests such as MRI scans or blood tests, and it is this lack of physical evidence which can lead to misdiagnosis.
  3. Symptoms can differ per person: where the symptoms of FND can vary widely from patient to patient and can change over time, adding to the complexity of diagnosis.
  4. There is misunderstanding and stigma: which can lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment as patients may not be taken seriously.


What does life look like for people diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder?

Living with FND can be challenging, but with the right support and management strategies, many people can lead fulfilling lives.

Key ways of managing life with FND can include:

  1. Taking a multidisciplinary approach: particularly as effective management of FND often involves neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, physical therapists and occupational therapists as a team of comprehensive carers to address the various aspects of the disorder.
  2. Therapeutic interventions: whereby cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and other psychological therapies can help patients manage symptoms and address any underlying psychological factors, and assist in improving motor and functional abilities.
  3. Symptom management: whereby through learning to manage symptoms with techniques such as relaxation exercises, mindfulness and stress management can be beneficial, and also manage more specific symptoms such as pain or anxiety.
  4. Establishing support systems: as having a strong support system including family, friends and support groups, can provide emotional support and practical assistance. Connecting with others who have FND can also help reduce feelings of isolation here too.
  5. And finally, engaging in education and advocacy: whereby educating people about FND can help reduce stigma and improve understanding, and building advocacy for better recognition and treatment of FND can help to improve care and outcomes for those affected.


How Speed Medical can help support patients diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder

As FND is a complex condition which presents unique challenges in diagnosis and management, we at Speed Medical believe that through understanding the nature of FND, its causes, and the various ways it can manifest, is crucial to us for providing effective care and support.

With the right approach, patients with FND can manage their symptoms and lead meaningful lives, and its our commitment to them that we will be there with them every step of the way.

In fact, our mission at Speed Medical is to “lead the way by driving clinical quality, improving efficiencies and embracing the latest technologies to deliver an outstanding service”, which is what we do daily.

We offer the complete package for our customers, from supporting them with a legal claim to aiding with their recovery following an accident, illness or injury, and we do so by offering a huge range of services, all underpinned by over 25 years of experience in the medico-legal industry combined with our commitment to not only maintain but continuously improve the quality and delivery of every service provided.

For more information, please visit, contact our team via email at or call us directly on 0330 094 8749.


Our Accreditations