What is a Functional Neurological Disorder?

Functional neurological disorder refers to an abnormality in the functioning of the nervous system. Generally speaking, it is a dysfunction of how our brain receives information from the rest of the body. Sometimes, the functional neurological disorder can also be called conversion disorder. A variety of symptoms present in this type of disease include seizures, fatigue, and other problems.


Functional neurological disorders are usually examined with the help of MRI, EEG, and other scans. The necessary advances in medicine can help us better understand these disorders and, as a result, provide more effective care.

Main Causes and Risk Factors

Generally, there are no known causes of functional neurological disorders, but there are certain theories that can help shed light on potential risks. Generally, they depend on the symptoms and involve different mechanisms within the brain. As functional neurological disorders may appear after a physical or emotional trauma, stress, or abuse, this field requires a lot of attention. However, we still don’t know the exact causes.


Risk factors may include neurological diseases such as epilepsy or migraines, mental health conditions, and issues related to stress. Family members with neurological conditions and even symptoms can also be risk factors. By understanding what events can cause this disorder and how we can prevent the danger, we take a step forward in dealing with this disorder.

Symptoms of Functional Neurological Disorder

Generally, there are a variety of symptoms that can be present in functional neurological disorders, but they differ depending on the condition and the depth of risks. Symptoms may vary depending on the type of disorder, but among common symptoms, there are abnormal movement, weaknesses, and seizures.


Also, this disorder can be a cause of disability and distress. The quality of life can seriously deteriorate because the patient is constantly disturbed by symptoms, and it is difficult for him to concentrate on routine life. With constant fatigue, it also becomes hard to work and lead an active life. Other symptoms can also lead to serious difficulties even in daily life. Women are more susceptible to this disorder than men.


Functional neurological diseases can cause serious damage, so it is essential not to ignore all the possible risks. Since we don’t know everything yet, it’s good to be cautious about lifestyle. Historically, this condition was neglected by clinicians, but now, the risks it possesses are being studied more, and we can make progress in understanding the different types of disorders. Now that more information is available on the symptoms and manifestations of this disorder, attitudes toward patients are also changing.


It is essential to understand each specific disorder individually, as the matter is very complex. As the symptoms can sometimes be quite dangerous, the more we know, the more we protect ourselves. Depending on specific cases, psychological factors may be more important than neurological ones, but it depends on the condition. The timeliness of examination and treatment can play a crucial role because often such disorders become more complicated due to advanced symptoms.

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Donna T. Dipietro

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