Functional and Dissociative Neurological Symptoms : a patient's guide

Hemi

Understanding your condition

If you haven't read these pages yet, you may find it helpful to do so before reading on

Causes - What causes Functional Symptoms?

All in the mind? - Are Functional Symptoms 'all in the mind'

Patients with functional symptoms are often intensely frustrated at the lack of any apparent treatment for their condition. Sometimes the lack of an easy treatment can be one reason why patients question the diagnosis.

Even when a patient understands the diagnosis, it can be frustrating that there is no ‘quick fix’ or medication that can put things right again.

There aren’t any quick fixes for functional symptoms, but there are “slow fixes” that with time and effort can make symptoms less intrusive and allow you to feel better.

Patients who do improve say that one of the most important factors in recovery seems to be whether the diagnosis and explanation they were given made sense to them – perhaps not immediately, but eventually.

The key parts of the explanation seem to be

1. You have something common – you are not weird

2. You do have something genuine – you are not imagining it

3. You have symptoms that are potentially reversible

4. Its not your fault that you have these symptoms

5. But you will need to put some effort in to getting better

If your doctor has sent your clinic letter to you, read it and try to understand it. Reading through this website may help you to understand your condition more.

If you can get to a point where you think the diagnosis makes sense, you no longer feel concerned about the possibility of another diagnosis, you realise that lots of other people have this too and its something you can potentially get better from then this is a good start for treatment