Symptoms of a Functional Neurological Disorder occur as a result of a problem with the functioning of the nervous system.

The brain fails to send or receive messages correctly, and a wide variety of symptoms may be experienced and in a lot of cases can be extremely disabling.

Symptoms may appear similar to those found in MS, Parkinson’s and Epilepsy, though the underlying cause is different. People given the FND diagnosis are not part of a homogeneous group and require an individual approach to diagnosis and care.

Some people may experience a variety of symptoms whereas others may have just one or two symptoms. Symptoms may fluctuate in severity, frequency and combinations.

It is important to recognise that even if a person does not appear to suffer stress, anxiety or depression before FND is diagnosed, the process of dealing with a chronic illness can be very stressful and lead to anxiety and depression in some people.

A Functional Neurological Disorder may co-exist with other commonly-known neurological diseases. Therefore, comparison in symptoms, even with others with the diagnosis, should be done with care.


Movement and Motor (Functional Movement Disorder)

  • Functional Dystonia: uncontrollable and often painful muscle spasms, which sometimes results in a hand clenched, or a foot fixed, or clenched in abnormal positions. Functional Dystonia Information Sheet download (provided by
  • Gait difficulties: problems with walking e.g. dragging a leg, sudden knee buckling (drop attacks), uneven steps (like walking on ice, or lack of leg coordination).
  • Limb weakness: a feeling that your arm or leg doesn’t feel normal and is unable to bear weight. There may be some inconsistency with the weakness.
  • Paralysis: an inability to move any part of the body, which can last for a period of hours or even days, and may return in time.
  • Swallowing difficulties: temporarily losing the ability to swallow or a feeling of having something in your throat.
  • Bladder and bowel problems: frequency, urgency, loss of sensation leading to incontinence.

Functional Seizures (Non Epileptic Attack Disorder)

See our NEAD page for information


Other symptoms which may co-exist with FNDs:


  • Dizziness: feeling lightheaded and off balance, described as feeling like surroundings are spinning.
  • Hypersensitivity: being very sensitive to light, sound, smell, touch or taste.
  • Fleeting sensations: feeling like skin is crawling, ‘electric shock’ sensation, twitching.


  • Short term memory difficulties.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Word finding difficulty.
  • Difficulties with speech

To learn more about symptoms that may be present with a Functional Neurological Disorder please visit the neurosymptoms website.

CLICK HERE for information about diagnosis.