Functional neurological disorder (FND) is a disorder of the functioning of the nervous system. In other words, there is a problem with the software of the nervous system. FND causes various neurological symptoms that are not explained by another neurological or medical condition. FND symptoms can appear suddenly and progress quickly, or they can fluctuate.  People with FND often have more than one symptom. Movement symptoms can include abnormal movements, problems with balance, walking, swallowing, seizures and paralysis. Symptoms that affect the senses can include numbness and issues with hearing and vision. FND also can affect memory and thinking.  In some cases a trigger for the symptoms can be identified, such as stress, trauma or another neurological disorder, but often the cause of FND is unknown. It is important to understand that the symptoms of FND are not imagined.

The diagnosis of FND is based on a patient’s symptoms and the findings of a neurological examination. There is no specific test for FND.

Treatment for FND will depend on your symptoms. Physical or occupational therapy can help to improve movement symptoms. Speech therapy can be helpful for problems with speech or swallowing. Anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders can make FND symptoms worse, so effectively treating these can help with recovery.

Useful links: is written by one of the world leaders in FND research and has links to an FND app for patient support

FND Functional Neurological Disorder in Aotearoa/NZ Facebook group or email


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