Functional Neurological symptoms are commonly seen in Neurology departments and can affect men, women and children of all ages. Most often referred to a Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) it encompasses a diverse range of symptoms including limb weakness and movement disorders, attacks of abnormal movement and/or altered awareness (currently known as Non Epileptic Attack Disorder [NEAD] which may be given as a diagnosis in it’s own right), sensory problems, cognitive problems and more.
The severity and variation of symptoms differ from person to person, but many suffer with debilitating physical disabilities. Lack of appropriate care and support inevitably also leads to emotional difficulties and affects the life of not only the person experiencing the symptoms, but also those close to them. In contrast others are able to recover from some symptoms, for instance with specialist physiotherapy learn to walk again, and others are able to find ways of managing their symptoms to allow them to lead a normal life .. a normal life in respect to living with a chronic condition.
Prevalence is currently unknown but Neurologists see cases in their clinics every day. Unfortunately, outside of neurology clinics there is still little knowledge or awareness of FND which means that those diagnosed struggle to find the help and support they need. FND Action advocate for collaborative care to be offered to those presenting with symptoms, to ensure they are given the best opportunity of recovery/management of symptoms.