Functional and Dissociative Neurological Symptoms : a patient's guide


Different language?
Click on the flag


How to use this website ...

This website is about symptoms which are: • neurological (such as weakness, numbness or blackouts) • REAL (and not imagined) • and due to a PROBLEM with the FUNCTIONING of the nervous system, and NOT due to neurological disease. These symptoms have many names (including dissociative symptoms and conversion symptoms) but are often described as "functional symptoms" or "functional disorders" Symptoms like these are surprisingly common but can be difficult for patients and health professionals to understand. This website, written by a neurologist with a special interest in these problems, aims to give you a better understanding of these symptoms. It has no advertising and does not make any money for the author.











Symptoms ...

Most people with functional or dissociative neurological symptoms have a combination of symptoms like "weakness, numbness and fatigue" or "blackouts and sleep problems"

Click on a symptom on the right or use the menu above to explore the symptoms that are relevant to you.

Click on ‘Causes’ to discover what is known about....

• what is going wrong in the body when they do happen.(Mechanisms) and
• why people become vulnerable to these symptoms (Causes)

Click on ‘Misdiagnosis’ to find out how likely it is that your diagnosis is wrong

Click on 'In the mind?’ for some answers to this question

Click on ‘Treatment’ for discussion of what treatments may help

Click on ‘Stories' for some real patient stories

Downloads and Links ...

Click on Links and Downloads tab on the menu above to access a wide range of leaflets, booklets and internet links

DISCLAIMER: Please do not attempt to diagnose yourself or others using this website. The diagnosis of functional and dissociative neurological symptoms can be difficult and depends on having experience and knowledge of different neurological problems. The views of this website are those of the author alone and not those of NHS Lothian or the University of Edinburgh.

Mac /iphone/ipad users This is a Flash website and so may not display correctly at all times on these devices.

About the Author

Dr Jon Stone MBChB FRCP PhD, Consultant Neurologist and Honorary Reader in Neurology, University of Edinburgh

Since I started this site in 2009 I have tried to keep a low profile! This site is about functional neurological disorders and symptoms not me. But I realise that readers need to know where this information comes from.

I am a Neurologist in Edinburgh, Scotland. I have been involved in research in this area with my colleague Alan Carson in Edinburgh and other colleagues across the UK and world since 1999. Our research has mostly been about describing the clinical features of functional neurological disorders and their treatment. We are driven by a desire to improve knowledge, understanding and attitudes towards functional disorders.

You can read about my research group and see my publications at my University of Edinburgh site - here

I’m sorry but I cannot undertake email correspondence with patients, I do not accept NHS referrals from outside Scotland and do not carry out private work. I do hope that the information in this website is useful to you.

Jon Stone B&W

FUNDING: I'm grateful to the Neurology Research Fund of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh for funding this website. The cost for the website for the first two years was less than £200. I'm especially grateful to Ian Laverty for raising money with this website in mind.

This second video is from an Australian National TV program called Insight broadcast on 13th Sep 2016.

Functional Neurological Disorder is discussed from 20:58. Three patients, with a gait disorder, a movement disorder and episodes of limb weakness/seizures talk about their diagnosis and how physiotherapy and psychological therapy has helped them.

Miranda who tells her story first also features in a great short film which you can see on the gait disorder page.

Please note that the first 20 minutes of this program are NOT about FND. There is a discussion of health anxiety, which does occur in a small proportion of people with FND but most people with FND do not have health anxiety. The video should start at 20:58 which is when the segment about FND starts.

In 2013,2014 and 2015 I was part of a University of Edinburgh event on the Edinburgh Fringe, one of the largest arts festivals in the world.

The event was part of a series organised by the Beltane Network and hosted by Susan Morrison, columnist and comedian, to raise awareness of new topics in medicine and science that the general public may not be aware of.

This is a clip from 2015 where Susan and I discuss what functional neurological disorders are and how they are diagnosed. I talk to a patient, Kathryn, who describes her dissociative seizures (about 16 minutes in).

Many thanks to Bridget Mildon at for organising recording of the video

I hope you find it helpful

Jon Stone

Functional Neurological Forum -
Functional Neurological forum launched in 2015 as an umbrella organisation for health professionals interested in functional neurological disorders and symptoms. This includes neurologists, physiotherapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation physicians, speech and language therapists and patients interested in promoting awareness of FND

Anyone can join fnforum including patients but it is designed as a forum to bring together health professionals, inform them of conferences and other events. If you are looking for a patient forum see the links on the links page

Sign up at

Neurosymptoms in other languages

I am very honoured that neurology, medical and nursing colleagues in a wide range of countries have contacted me to arrange a translation of in to other languages. Words and meanings change in different cultures and so it was important that these sites were adapted by professionals familiar with the topic. Some of these sites are complete. Others are in development

DUTCH Translation in progress by Prof Rien Vermeulen, Neurologist, Amsterdam and Jeannette Gelauff
Click flag to go there