FND Awareness Day 25 March 2023 Media Release

 In News

6 March 2023

Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) is a common but poorly understood condition that presents with debilitating neurological symptoms. People can experience paralysis, gait disorders, inability to walk, inability to talk, seizures, dystonia, problems with eating / swallowing along with visual disturbances / blindness and other sensory conditions.

The acute onset of FND often resembles a disease of the central nervous system, however when traditional scans, testing and blood pathology reveal no disease or structural damage, people are often left without support, and continue to suffer a growing number of disabling and distressing symptoms that greatly affecting their daily functioning [1].

FND is the second most common reason, after headache, people present to a Neurologist. Many people endure repeat visits to their GP or Emergency Department for further investigation. Sometimes people will wait years to be properly diagnosed, and once diagnosed support and treatment is sadly lacking for many across the country.

Health services are poorly equipped to meet the complex needs of people with disabling FND symptoms; who often slip through system gaps between neurology and psychiatry [2], while they accumulate more disabling symptoms. Specialised FND services for children are even more lacking, leading to disrupted schooling and challenges maintaining social function, with long term future impacts.

Systemic health care gaps are common in FND, as the disorder is still very much misunderstood. FND is diagnosed by a Neurologist using positive signs; it is not a diagnosis of exclusion [3]. Health professionals who specialise and train in FND, offer multi-disciplinary care rehabilitation to address the functioning of the central nervous system [4, 5]. Treatment can take many months to a year, with ongoing education to assist people to self-manage FND.

FND Australia Support Services was founded in 2017 and offers FND education, awareness, advocacy at State and Federal levels. The charity provides informal peer support and assists people to self- advocate and better understand their condition. In 2019, the Charity developed a strong vision, to fill some of the systemic health gaps within health care and disability services. The charity provides telehealth Occupational Therapy program and Counselling services to people with FND across the country. The organisation also offers educational training for health professionals and professional peer support.

FND Australia Support Services Inc released the FND Aus App in 2022, free to download from the App store and Google Play store that is both informational and interactive for the user. In 2023, the Kokora Mollitia 12-week FND educational wellbeing program is being released and open to people newly diagnosed with FND and their carers.

To assist with raising awareness about FND, Join in Walk & Wheels 4 FND or a Coffee Catch-Up with your friends and family on the 25th of March. All donations over $2 made to FND Australia Support Services are tax deductible and supports the Charity programs and services.

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