Neurological disorders are disorders that affect the brain, spine as well as the nerves which connect the brain with the spine and also branch out everywhere. There are close to six hundred different neurological diseases that can affect the human body. Most know about are common ones, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis (MS) or Alzheimer’s disease or epilepsy. But many are still not aware of the symptoms and treatment options of a number of other neurological disorders.
Interestingly, there is one neurological disorder that displays symptoms, but does not indicate any clearly evident problems within the nervous system. This disorder is known as Functional Neurological Disorder or FND, which is quite a complex condition to describe and treat.
FND – conversion disorder
FND is also termed as conversion disorder and is often described as a complex disorder because the body displays various physical neurological symptoms while there is no clear structural problem detected in the nervous system.
FND can be termed as a disability since its symptoms hamper normal functioning of individuals suffering from the disorder.
Symptoms of Functional Neurological Disorder
The symptoms are the main tell tale signs of any disorder and it is these symptoms of FND that make it difficult for patients to operate on certain days and thus classify the disorder as a “disability.” Additionally, patients have no control over their symptoms and do not display them consciously or deliberately.
The typical symptoms observed include-
- Experiencing difficulty concentrating on things
- Having hearing difficulties or deafness
- Experiencing fatigue
- Displaying impaired movement and sometimes also loss of balance
- Expressing lack of responsiveness
- Experiencing difficulty in swallowing
- Problems with memory and retention
- Loss of certain senses, such as touch or smell, therefore sometimes being associated with numbness
- Feeling of a tingling sensation in skin
- Experiencing pain in muscles, joints, or skin
- Attacked by seizures or even paralysis
- Experiencing problems, such as speech problems and vision problems
- Feeling sensations, such as tremors and twitches
- Experiencing weakness in the body
These symptoms usually come and go and their duration varies from patient to patient and the symptoms usually resolve on their own. But for some, duration and severity of the symptoms persist, hindering their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Thus, it turns out to be a disability.
Causes and Risk Factors
There is no cause known for the disorder and it is believed that an internal conflict, such as stress, can lead to the disorder. For example, a person who usually believes in violence and in a traumatic event wants to control their urge to react violently, may experience symptoms such as numbness in the arms and legs, since they have suppressed the urge to react.
The risk factors which are believed to increase the risk of the disorder include:
- Distressing life events
- Personality disorders
- Childhood traumas
- Dissociative disorders
- A family member who is already suffering from FND
FND is thus a complex disorder which can disable the functioning capability similar to other neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s and MS.