Diagnosing Functional Neurological Disorder (FND)


What is functional neurological disorder (FND)?

Functional neurological disorder, or FND, is characterized by physical symptoms that cannot be explained by a medical or neurological diagnosis. It is the result of complications with the operation of the nervous system. It also involves how the body and brain send and receive signals. FND can cause difficulty functioning and considerable distress.

There are various types of FND that are dependent upon the symptoms. They are categorized into seizure-type, motor and other.

Diagnosing functional neurological disorder

While there is no definitive test to diagnose FND, a neurologist can make a diagnosis based on a combination of physical and neurological examinations, tests, imaging scans, and ruling out other conditions. A diagnosis typically involves certain criteria, which includes the following:

  • One or more symptoms involve the brain’s control over senses or movement.
  • The symptoms are not recognized with other medical conditions.
  • There is no condition that explains the symptoms.
  • Daily life, such as the ability to work or self-care, is disrupted by the symptoms.

Physical examination

A detailed medical history will be obtained and evaluated. The health care provider will ask questions concerning the signs and symptoms that are present. Testing to be ordered will be determined by the symptoms.

Psychiatric examination

The neurologist may request a mental health evaluation. Symptoms, thoughts, feelings and behaviors will be discussed. This helps exclude mental health issues as the cause of FND.

Blood tests

A health care professional may order blood tests. This can rule out issues with the immune system, such as toxins or poisons.

Imaging scans

Imaging tests may be ordered to eliminate the possibility of other conditions causing symptoms. Tests may include the following:

  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Electromyogram
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)

Additional source: FND Hope

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