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International FND Awareness Day – April 13, 2023

International FND Awareness Day is held every year on April 13 and was first celebrated in 2013. It aims to promote awareness, support patients, and advance research for the prevention as well as treatment for ‘FND’ or ‘Functional Neurological Disorder.’ It was created by “FND Hope,” a charitable organization promoting awareness as well as support for patients, families, and carers affected by FND. FND is the second-most prevalent neurological diagnosis. Ironically, those suffering from these disorders may be poorly cared for yet their symptoms are commonly seen in neurology clinics worldwide.

History of International FND Awareness Day

‘Functional Neurological Disorder’ or ‘FND’ refers to a disorder that breaks down the communication between the brain and the body. There is a problem with how the nervous system functions and it can happen even when both the brain and body are functioning correctly. It can also mimic other conditions that’s why many patients are misdiagnosed. Despite its prevalence, the cause of FND is unknown. Historically it was viewed as a psychological disorder that manifested into physical symptoms caused by suppressed trauma.

An estimated four to 12 people per 100,000 will develop FND. Biological factors such as early childhood trauma, anxiety, or maltreatment can cause it to develop. Sociological factors like relationships and stress can also trigger an episode. Patients can show a wide range or combination of symptoms that are physical, cognitive, and sensory. This includes motor dysfunctions such as limb paralysis, problems walking, and slurred speech. Sensory dysfunction examples are loss of vision and numbness in the face. They may also experience altered awareness such as blackouts and seizures. Many experience chronic pains sleep problems, fatigue, and depression. Symptoms can often fluctuate, can be present all the time, or vary from day to day. They can even experience complete remission only to be followed by a sudden relapse. It’s also common for a physical injury or other illnesses to trigger the symptoms.

Successful management of FND can only come about when effective communication exists between patient and doctor. A clear explanation of the diagnosis and education is important for receiving the correct treatment. On a bigger scale, international organizations like “FND Hope” provide awareness, fund research for FND to find a potential cure, and most of all advocate for those whose lives have changed because of FND.

International FND Awareness Day timeline

1692
Trial by Hysteria

An outbreak of hysteria — which symptoms include uncontrollable sudden movements and staring eyes — affects women in Massachusetts and leads to the Salem witch trials.

18th Century
In The Brain, Not In The Womb

French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot argues that hysteria was not caused by the uterus but by the brain or degeneration of the nervous system, thereby possibly affecting both sexes.

1885
Freud’s Turning Point

Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud takes up a three-month fellowship with Jean-Martin Charcot, which turns him towards the practice of medical psychopathology and away from neurology research.

2013
“FND Hope” is Founded

Bridget Mildon starts a non-profit organization for FND patients on April 12.

International FND Awareness Day FAQs

Is FND a disability

It can be considered a disability because its symptoms inhibit the normal functioning of people suffering from it.

What triggers FND?

Its cause is unknown. The condition may be triggered by a reaction to stress as well as psychological or physical trauma or a neurological disorder, but that’s not always the case.

Is FND a progressive disease?

Its onset may be sudden or gradual. For those suffering from its gradual onset, its symptoms and duration are progressive and get worse over time.

How to Observe International FND Awareness Day

  1. Donate to “FND Hope”

    Any amount is welcome. Your contribution will help raise awareness for FND, bring support to patients, and continue advanced research.

  2. Volunteer at “FND Hope”

    Want to be involved more but don’t know where to start? “FND Hope” welcomes people with diverse talents and knowledge to help those with FND. Reach out to them and see where you can be a good fit.

  3. Become an FND Hope Warrior

    Lend not only a voice but a face to this disease. Appear on “FND Hope” marketing materials, videos, and wherever communication is needed.

5 Pain-Free Ways To Avoid An FND Attack

  1. Spend time with happy people

    Surrounding yourself with positivity helps you feel less stressed.

  2. Make a scrapbook of what delights you

    Collecting a visual reminder of things that delight you trigger the release of feel-good chemicals from your brain, which lifts your mood.

  3. Learn a new skill

    Not only do you master a new talent, but it also shifts your focus to something pleasant.

  4. Put a photo album together

    Looking at joyful photos will help recapture the feeling of wellness and love for the special people in your life.

  5. Take up a hobby you love

    Spending time doing something you enjoy relaxes both your mind and body.

Why International FND Awareness Day is Important

  1. It strives to understand a misunderstood disease

    There are many myths surrounding FND, which negatively impact patients and their loved ones. By focusing on awareness and research, we can help support all those whose lives are affected by FND.

  2. It was founded by a patient

    Bridget Mildon set up “FND Hope” from her hospital bed. Later diagnosed with FND, she looked for a way where patients in a similar situation like her could connect and learn from each other.

  3. It’s not as rare as you think

    It’s usually listed as a rare disease but symptoms are often seen in neurological services, making it a common disorder, coming in second only to headache. One report states that approximately ⅓ of patients who visit neurology clinics display FND symptoms.

International FND Awareness Day dates

YearDateDay
2023April 13Thursday
2024April 13Saturday
2025April 13Sunday
2026April 13Monday
2027April 13Tuesday

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