A multidisciplinary treatment approach has been found to be the most effective for FND because of the variety of symptoms the disorder encompasses. Multidisciplinary treatment means that a range of medical specialities may be involved including neurology, physiotherapy, psychiatry/psychology, occupational therapy or any other speciality that patients may benefit. Ultimately, the best approach allows treatment to be tailored to the individual.
Research-based evidence supports the effectiveness of certain treatments that have been specifically tailored for FND, especially physiotherapy (for motor symptoms) and psychotherapy (for attacks or functional seizures). The aim of FND treatment is to ‘retrain the brain’, by unlearning abnormal and dysfunctional movement patterns that have developed and relearning normal movement.
It is critical to acknowledge that FND is a genuine disorder in which symptoms are not consciously produced and therefore, 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’. Various scientific studies also provide evidence that functional symptoms are not feigned and cannot be turned on and off at will.
Unfortunately, not all patients respond to treatment despite understanding the condition and complying to the treatment programme. In these instances, every effort should be made to minimise risk, maximise independence, and provide ongoing support as needed.
Online Peer to peer support groups can be a great way to connect with others going through a similar experience. Meeting online allows you access to support when you need it and because we are an international organization there is always someone somewhere available.
This is also a great way to stay connected with current FND news. Don’t forget to LIKE our open page too.
Tools to help you through this difficult time. Our downloads page provides quick and easy access to awareness and education materials. Some of the tools (downloads available) you may need along your way to healing and finding better health.
Our Healthy FND Living sections provide many useful tools to manage functional symptoms. This section has been written by the spouse of one of our members. After collating member tips as well as drawing from her own experience of caring for her husband with FND, Lynn has gathered an extensive amount of self-help remedies. Of course even self-help tools should be discussed with your treating care provider before trying.
Written by Professor Mark Edwards
In some ways this is an exciting time for research in FND as after many decades of lack of interest, there are more and more clinicians and scientists who are interested in the area and in trying to develop and improve treatment. As with most research this work is very slow to translate into real differences for people with FND and there are likely to be lots of false starts and blind alleys. However,there is hope that care pathways for people with FND will become clearer and more effective and that a greater range of treatments will be available within the not too distant future.
With current treatment about 60% of people with FND say that their symptoms have improved. This is not to say that all these people are “better”, and it is very important to have reasonable expectations regarding treatment. This means that many people with FND need long term help with their symptoms in the same way as many with neurological illness do. However with help many people are able to get back to leading a much more normal life and though they may have continued symptoms, these are more in the background than they used to be.