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.


FND symptoms vary in severity and may be continuous or intermittent. Symptoms are grouped as the following:

  • Seizure FND, or psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES), consists of those who have non-epileptic seizures that are associated with functional neurological disorder.
  • Motor FND applies to those who have motor symptoms, such as problems with movement or paralysis.
  • Other FND is composed of those who experience symptoms not listed above, such as cognitive or sensation issues.

Symptoms of FND include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Arm or leg weakness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty walking
  • Disruptions in senses (hearing, vision, taste, touch or smell)
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Involuntary movements, such as jerking, shaking or stiffness
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle spasms, contractions or stiffness
  • Numbness or loss of feeling
  • Pain
  • Paralysis
  • Poor posture or balance
  • Problems swallowing
  • Seizures (psychogenic non-epileptic seizures)
  • Slow movements
  • Slurred Speech
  • Tics
  • Tremors


The exact cause of functional neurological disorder is unknown; however, certain circumstances or medical conditions increase the likelihood of developing it. FND may be triggered by mental or physical trauma, stress, or a neurological disorder.

Risk factors

Certain factors can increase the risk of developing functional neurological disorder. They include, but are not limited to, any of the following:

  • A health condition that triggers FND
  • Childhood abuse
  • Family dysfunction
  • Infectious illness
  • Mental health conditions, especially anxiety or depression
  • Physical injury
  • Recent traumatic or stressful event
  • Sexual abuse
  • Violence

Additional source: FND Hope

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