What Is Functional Neurological Disorder (FND)?
FND is a problem in the nervous system that can’t be explained because the structure of the brain appears normal. Essentially, FND refers to the malfunctioning of parts of the brain that control muscles and senses. These parts of the brain send incorrect signals to the nervous system, resulting in its symptoms. Symptoms vary in severity, can be persistent or intermittent, and can manifest in a physical, sensory, and/or cognitive form.
Symptoms of FND often occur after a stressful or traumatic event. Other FND triggers include changes in how the brain functions at a structural, cellular, or metabolic level, although what causes these changes can’t always be identified.
While FND is listed as a rare disorder, researchers have found that its functional symptoms are often reported by patients with neurological issues, suggesting that it may be more common than believed. It’s the second most common reason for neurological outpatient services, after headaches and migraines.
What Are The Risk Factors?
There is no known cause of FND, although factors that increase the risk of developing FND include:
- Having a neurological disease or disorder (i.e. migraines, epilepsy)
- Having a mental health condition (i.e. anxiety, dissociative disorder)
- Recent physical or emotional trauma
- History of childhood abuse
- Family history of FND
What Are Some Common Symptoms?
While symptoms vary, they can affect the body’s movement and function of the senses.
Movement symptoms include:
- Weakness or paralysis
- Abnormal movement (i.e. tremors)
- Loss of balance
- Difficulty swallowing
- Seizures or episodes of shaking and loss of consciousness
- Incidents of unresponsiveness
Sensory symptoms include:
- Numbness or loss of sensation
- Speech problems (i.e. loss of speech, slurred speech)
- Vision problems (i.e. double vision, blindness)
- Hearing problems or impairment
How Is FND Diagnosed And Treated?
FND is diagnosed by a medical professional based on the individual’s existing symptoms. The evaluation includes a physical exam and a psychiatric exam to rule out other causes for the symptoms.
Treatment options depend on how the symptoms manifest, but doctors often use a variety of treatments, including:
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Stress reduction techniques
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
- Treating other mental health conditions that may worsen FND’s symptoms (i.e. anxiety)
Find Home Care Services And Live In Care At iCare Home Health
April 13th is FND Awareness Day and iCare Home Health understands the challenges that accompany living with a life-changing neurological disorder. Whether you need help with self-care, getting things done around the house, recreational therapy, or help managing your symptoms and medications, we provide convenient, compassionate, and highly-qualified home care services and recreational therapy to people of all ages. Our services list includes scheduled visits and live in care to ensure that your needs are met. Contact us to find out more and book a consultation.