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Functional Neurological Disorder (FND)

Providing exceptional injury rehabilitation, long term complex care and community support.

Image of brain of functional neurological disorder

What is a Functional Neurological Disorder (FND)?

Functional neurological disorder (FND) is caused by an abnormality in how the brain functions, however there is no structural damage in the brain. It is often described as a psychological disorder converted into a neurological one. A person with FND can find that their brain is unable to send and receive signals properly and can experience difficulties with emotional and sensory processing, cognition, memory and concentration.

Functional neurological disorder can vary between each person and the symptoms can have a significant impact on daily life and functions. Symptoms can increase when a person is distressed, anxious and focused on them, but can also decrease with distraction, mindfulness and relaxation techniques. For some people symptoms can be short lived, whilst for others they can last for years.

Some people may experience psychogenic nonepileptic seizures as part of their disorder which may look very similar to epileptic seizures, but again there is no brain dysfunction or abnormal electrical signalling in the brain, but is caused by a psychological reaction to distress or emotions that are difficult to cope with.

Others may experience symptoms that may affect any area of the body and its movement such as jerking, twitching, weakness, abnormal postures and paralysis. These symptoms may cause difficulty in walking, speaking, sensation, pain and fatigue.

Can Functional Neurological Disorder go away?

Peartree community service therapists in Southampton are experienced and skilled in providing therapy for clients with functional neurological disorder throughout Hampshire and the south coast. Our neurological specialist therapists have a good understanding of this disorder and we have been able to support clients with a holistic multi-disciplinary approach including physio therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and psychology support and we have found this combination to be very successful.

Support often needs to be long term and can have varied success, but we are proud to be able to share some wonderful recovery stories of our clients to show that recovery or improvement of symptoms and quality of life is possible. There are no specific treatments for FND, but we can help to support the symptoms and we can also support your family and loved ones to understand this condition and how they can best support you too.

If you are in Hampshire or the South Coast of England, please reach out to us via our contact page and we’ll see how we can help.

How Common is a Functional Neurological Disorder?

An estimated 50,000- 100,000 people in the UK have FND. Females and especially young females are reported to be most affected by this disorder making up between 60% and 75% of those affected.

How is a Functional Neurological Disorder Diagnosed?

There is no test that can confirm a diagnosis of functional neurological disorder. Doctors will conduct a full assessment to gather information about your symptoms, health history, family history, your lifestyle and will conduct some tests to rule out other conditions that may be a cause of symptoms. These tests may include medical and psychological examinations.

It is possible for functional neurological disorder to co-exist alongside other medical conditions. You may be invited to have a imaging scan, an electroencephalography (looking at the brains electrical activities) and/ or an electromyography (looking at electrical activity in your muscles).


A Functional Neurological Disorder Case Study

At Peartree House Community Service, we’ve been helping a client diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) using Neurological Occupational Therapy. We’ve been assessing and addressing their physical, thinking, and emotional/behavioural difficulties with the goal of improving their ability to participate in daily activities and enhancing their overall quality of life.

Before receiving therapy, the client was bed bound, not actively participating in any activities, and often kept their eyes closed or avoided interaction with others. They also dealt with frequent and intense pain, anxiety, and distress. Peartree’s Occupational Therapy team began by establishing a strong therapeutic relationship by building trust with the client. We took the time to understand their interests, what motivates them, and their goals for therapy.

Guided Techniques:


Guided imagery, relaxation and breathing techniques were introduced, practiced and refined to meet the clients needs as way of supporting pain and anxiety management and were a helpful strategy for prompting engagement in physical rehabilitation. Using these strategies has enabled progression to getting the client sat out in a tilt-in-space wheelchair. Posture and positioning in the wheelchair has been reviewed and adapted to meet the client’s needs.

Graded functional tasks including writing/drawing, playing board games, baking, stroking the ‘therapy guinea pigs’ and brushing hair have been used to work on upper limb movement, neck rotation and sitting tolerance as well as quality of life.

The client now sits out in the wheelchair at least three times a week and during recent therapy sessions has been supported to access the hairdressers as well as local community shops and café for the first time in over a year. The rewarding part of the job is not only supporting the client to make functional progress and achieve therapy goals, but also seeing smiling and laughter during therapy sessions and receiving positive feedback from the client and relatives.

Want to contact us?

We accept referrals from any healthcare and social care professional or case manager. Individuals can also self-refer. Referrals are accepted on a written standardised referral form, via telephone, fax, email, letter or via the form below.

Please phone us on 023 8044 8168

Making a referral