What is FND?
Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) is where the brain is structurally normal, however there is a problem the functioning of the nervous system. The brains ability to correctly send and receive messages has become distorted.
If you were a computer, it’s like having a software problem rather than a hardware problem. If you have a software bug on your computer, it might keep crashing or work slowly. You’d have to solve it by reprogramming the computer, working out which programs were causing the problem. Human beings are obviously more complicated than computers. Our thoughts, behaviour, sensations and emotions are our programs. I was given this analogy when I was diagnosed, and told I’d need to retrain my brain; hence the name of this blog.
FND is an umbrella term for a number of symptoms, which differ from person to person. You’ll notice from the list that those with FND experience physical symptoms. However there is no underlying physical cause. They are sometimes associated with an emotional or psychological trigger, but not always.
Symptoms can include functional tremors, difficulty concentrating, issues with sleep, fatigue, dizziness, brain fog, slurred speech, weakness and drop falls, nerve pain and sensory symptoms.
So there are a number of symptoms which can come and go and vary in severity. When symptoms are present, it can be called a symptom-flare or flare up. A flare can last hours, days or months etc. It really does depend on the person and situation.
FND can arise as from physiological and psychological factors. It can be triggered by a traumatic event, developed after a serious illness or infection. However in other cases the cause is unclear.
A popular website, neurosymptoms.org explains that there are no quick fixes however over time and with effort it is possible to reduce symptoms and improve how you feel. Visit the website for further information in the subject of treatment. A major factor in this is understanding. Individuals that do improve seems to be whether the diagnosis and explanation makes sense to them. The key parts of the explanation seem to be
- You have something common – you are not weird
- You do have something genuine – you are not imagining it
- You have symptoms that are potentially reversible
- Its not your fault that you have these symptoms
- But you will need to put some work in to getting better
I hope this article has helped with your understanding, or maybe it can help you explain it to someone else. I’m sure it is one I’ll revisit and revise in time.
I’d be interested to hear any thoughts, comments or feedback you have, just leave them in the comments below.