FND treatment can begin once a patient’s symptoms are validated, and the patient is diagnosed. The aim of FND treatment is to ‘retrain the brain’, for example by unlearning abnormal and dysfunctional movement patterns that have developed and relearning normal movement.
Most experts advocate a multidisciplinary approach to FND treatment because of the variety of symptoms the disorder encompasses. Multidisciplinary treatment means that a range of medical specialties will be involved in treatment. These specialties can include neurology, physiotherapy, psychiatry/psychology, occupational therapy or any other specialty that patients may benefit. Ultimately, the best approach allows treatment to be tailored to the individual.
Evidence is now emerging for the effectiveness of certain FND treatments, especially physiotherapy (for motor symptoms) and psychotherapy (for attacks or seizures) that have been specifically tailored for FND.
For effective and sympathetic FND treatment, it is critical to acknowledge that FND is a genuine disorder in which symptoms are experienced as out of the person’s control. The most common mistake by both public and health care professionals is that FND patients are in control of some or all of their symptoms. FND is often misunderstood because movements may be controlled when the patient is distracted, as previously mentioned. These features can lead health professionals or friends and family to wonder if the symptoms are feigned or ‘made up’. However, the patient does not consciously produce functional symptoms. Various scientific studies also provide evidence that functional symptoms are not feigned and cannot be turned on and off at will.