Functional neurological disorder treatment
Functional neurological disorder (FND) is a broader term for neurological symptoms characterized by some issues in nervous system functioning. It occurs when the brain cannot correctly receive and send signals to the body. The neurologist makes the diagnosis after a detailed patient history and neurological assessment. Usually, various medications, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and cognitive behavioural treatment are particularly effective.
A non-organic (without apparent anatomical damage) medical condition that describes brain function abnormalities is a functional neurological disorder. FND appears not due to disease or injury to brain structures. Instead, it can manifest suddenly after stress or mental or physical trauma.
Women are more likely to develop a functional neurological disorder than men. According to statistics, 8 out of 100,000 people have FND.
The main symptoms are episodes of changes in motor and sensory functions, as well as changes in awareness:
- Weak limbs or paralysis;
- Loss of sensation on one side of the body;
- Blackout in the eyes, double or loss of vision;
- Trembling or spasms in the body, seizures (nonepileptic);
- Dysphonia (hoarse voice), slurred or stuttering speech;
- Body itching, fatigue, headaches, insomnia.
Darkening of the eyes, fainting and convulsions may look like an epileptic attack. But sometimes, these are nonepileptic seizures (one of the types of FND).
Treatment options vary depending on the symptoms. Physiotherapy and occupational therapy are primary for patients with movement disorders. In addition, physicians use cognitive behavioural therapy for nonepileptic seizures. Rehabilitation includes exercise therapy, speech therapy, and restoration of vision. Drug therapy (painkillers, antidepressants, sleeping pills) dulls the pain and other symptoms.
FND has a poor prognosis. Often without adequate neurological rehabilitation, some symptoms may progress and result in disability.