Functional disorders of the nervous system
A strained conductor orchestrating our daily activities
Reading a novel, talking with friends in a bar, digesting a good meal, listening to a conference, browsing the internet…
All these activities, which occur naturally for most of us, actually require that our brains orchestrate a multitude of incredibly complex emotional, intellectual, organic, hormonal, muscular and sensory processes.
The proper execution of our functions largely contributes to making our daily activities pleasant and motivating. Conversely, a nervous disorder can make them arduous, unpleasant, or nerve-wracking.
Functional disorders of the nervous system:
- are not a disease
- are reversible with the appropriate training
- can be incapacitating
- are relatively common
- manifest in a variety of ways
What happens when you suffer from a functional disorder?
Our nervous systems can be compared to computers. From time to time, you may encounter bugs that slow down or render your computer practically unusable. And yet, all the components are in perfect condition. By restarting or by reinstalling the defective program, everything returns to normal.
Similarly, your nervous system may sometimes have trouble properly orchestrating the various functions required to execute certain tasks – despite suffering from no structural issues (lesions, malformations, neurodegenerative disorders). Your quality of life may then find itself significantly diminished while you may be in otherwise “perfect health” according to standard medical tests.
Often unclear symptoms with difficult-to-identify origins
The symptoms associated with a functional disorder of the central nervous system are often vague, changing and extremely varied in their expression. That is why you may frequently feel misunderstood when consulting health professionals, who struggle to find a cause for your condition.
The desire to “psychologize” the situation is a common mistake, often leading to feelings of guilt. While psychological components shouldn’t necessarily be excluded, the cause is rather mechanical by nature, and willpower alone is not enough to change this condition. The difficulty of recognizing and understanding these conditions is unfortunately a recurring and added hardship for people suffering from these types of disorders.
There is good news though!
– You are not an isolated case!
Studies have shown that approximately 30% of neurology consultations are functional disorders of the nervous system*. The proportion of people making do with lighter forms every day must therefore be quite considerable.
– These disorders are reversible!
Insofar as the brain suffers no structural damage and there is no established psychiatric disorder, these are purely functional and can be re-educated thanks to neuroplasticity.
The website neurosymptoms was created by a neurologist and gives an exhaustive list of symptoms associated with functional neurological disorders.
The non-profit organization FNP hope’s website gives plenty of information on functional neurological disorders.