Return to What Is Functional Movement Disorder?

Functional Movement Disorder – Starting To Be Explained

If you or someone you know has just been diagnosed with Functional Movement Disorder, then you are probably asking yourself “What is this disorder?”

I had never heard of it before, never mind knew anyone who had it!

I was only given a name of a doctor and told to Google his name and take a look at his website. That was it! I felt at a loss, confused and upset.

What do I have?

Why didn’t my Neurology Consultant tell me all about it?

How come there was no leaflet or anything they could give me, to take away and read about the disorder?

All reasonable questions and I will try to give you some answers.

I am a sufferer myself, so anything I put on this site is from my research, my findings, and from my personal experiences of going through the long process of symptoms to diagnosis. Along with the following treatment, and anything else that I can offer to help others looking for the questions I asked myself.

Okay so “What is Functional Movement Disorder”?

Answer – It is a Neurological Movement Disorder, where the brain has become (for better use of a word) “broken”. So the signals are now miss-firing. The Central Nervous System has had a disconnection at some point, so the brain is no longer sending or receiving signals properly anymore to and from the body, for the persons movements.

At some point in your past or more recently, you may have undergone some sort of experience or trauma. A time at which your brain was not able to deal with and process all your feelings, so filed them away in the back of your brain to deal with at a later stage when you were feeling better and more settled. Then your brain decides that now you are okay, it can take that old file out and start to sort out the feelings you were unable to deal with at the time. This then shuts down a part of your brain, so it can repair that old file.

This is where the disconnection happens, when it suddenly disconnects and your movements start to go wrong. They are subtle changes at first, something you may not even pick up on.

A dropped cup, a sudden spasm, a trip and a fall, all easily explained away as a normal movement error. Just a mishap, you turned wrong got dizzy and swayed to one side; you dropped a cup because you didn’t have a tight enough grip. You spasmed but thought it was a hiccup, or you just thought you jumped at a sound but weren’t really sure what made you jump and spasm?

Different things over the years, as you go to the doctors with new things. Spasms, bowel problems, urinary infections, headaches, vision problems, dizziness and tripping up, and over time things all start to add together. Then you begin to realize that something is not quite right, and you need to go chat with your doctor and make them aware of your worries.

They probably cannot tell you, at the end of the day you are just one of many patients that they see every day. They cannot remember every patient’s symptoms, and may not put two and two together just because you have been a few times in the same year.

You could become aware of your problems yourself, and it will probably be up to you to persuade your doctor to look into it. To give you some tests, get you seen by a consultant, and once you’re under a consultant then the real tests can begin.

At last you feel like you are being listened to, hurrah. Thank goodness. By this point you are distressed, and just want someone to help you and tell you what on earth is going on with your body.

Unfortunately as you are probably now aware, this can take years. The reason being, that Functional Movement Disorder can have many over lapping symptoms with other Movement Disorders.

Such as but not limited to:

* Dystonia –
* Parkinson’s –
* Muscular Sclerosis –
* ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) –
* Chronic Fatigue Syndrome –
* Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome –
* Tics –
* Chorea –
* Fibromyalgia –
* NEAD (Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder) –
* NES (Non-Epileptic Seizures) –
* Gait (walking) problems –
* Lymes Disease –

It is a long process of elimination, to eventually get to a potentially correct diagnosis of “Functional Movement Disorder”.

Permanent link to this article:


1 ping

Skip to comment form

    • Andrea on May 20, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Hi, the site can disappear on some handheld screens. It is best to hold the screen sideways, hopefully this helps. The best way to see the site, is on a computer screen. I hope this helps 🙂

    • Andrea on January 27, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Hi Cara, I am sorry to hear that you too are a movement disorder sufferer. Your disorder is not one I have heard of before, but then I had never heard of mine before either!
    It seems there are a few movement disorders that seem invisible to the rest of the world, and it makes it hard for us sufferers to have to constantly explain what we have all the time.
    I will indeed add your disorder to the list, as it certainly seems to fit in 🙁
    Take care x

  1. Cara, United States, Jan. 26, 2013. I have been diagonised with a rare syndrome called Stiff Person Syndrome or SPS for short. It too is a movement disorder and also cause non epileptic seizures as I too know where I am and am completely conscieneous when they hit. Also have other movement problems and sometimes can’t move at all. Testing took a long while as they tested for everything they could think of in this area. Process of elimination was the key. SPS is very rare like one in a million people. I too, have had a very stressful life and now am beginning to have new symptoms dealing with memory and reading problems. So here is another to add to your list if you wish.
    Happy to know someone is doing this connecting things together and people know they are not alone. That in itself does really help. I the coming future I know I will be in a wheel chair most of the time.

    A good sense of humor really does help.
    Thank you for this opportunity.

    • Andrea on November 25, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Hi Jean, The NEAD (Non-Epileptic Attack Disorder) can be a symptom of Functional Movement Disorder, but is a disorder on its own.
    DS (Dissociative Syndrome) yes that again is part of Functional Movement Disorder, again as a symptom. So they both need adding to the symptoms list 🙂
    You are right that it can also be called Dissociative Disorder, so when I get the chance I will add that to the list of names. Thanks for the reminder 🙂
    It is hard to remember all the parts of this disorder, as it comes with so many problems for us to deal with!
    I hope your day is a good one, and thanks for your fab comment 😀

    • jean fenton on November 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    this neurological problem has a lot more names than on your list – NEAD, DS, and the dreaded misleading Conversion Disorder described originally by Freud – and still used today for health insurance tho drs try not to say it to our faces! website helped me understand what i was experiencing when almost everyone medical has never heard of it and has no understanding whatsoever of any kind of fit, let alone one that isnt epileptic in origin. good luck with this site, jean

  1. excellent

    For one reason or another, I can’t see all of this blog, stuff keeps disappearing? Are you utilising java?

%d bloggers like this: