Background: Functional neurological disorders (FND) are disabling medical conditions commonly seen in neurological practice. Neurologists play an essential role in managing FND, from establishing a diagnosis to coordination of multidisciplinary team-based treatment for patients. With this study, we investigated the knowledge and the clinical experience of Italian neurologists in managing patients with FND. Methods: Members of the Italian Society of Neurology were invited via e-mail to participate in this ad hoc online survey; 492 questionnaires were returned completed. Results: The term “Functional neurological disorders” in reference to FND was used more frequently than other psychological (e.g., psychogenic or conversion), or descriptive terms (e.g., non-organic or stress-related). When speaking with patients, the respondents stated that they preferred explaining symptoms based on abnormal functioning of the nervous system than discussing mental illness and that they would refer their patient to a psychologist rather than to a psychiatrist. Few considered that physiotherapy and psychiatric interventions are useful approaches to treating FND. Some believed that patients simulate their symptoms. Conclusions: Overall, the responses suggest that knowledge about scientific advances in FND is somewhat sparse. A psychiatric-centered view of FND opens the way to an approach in which neurobiological and psychological aspects constitute essential factors of the condition. In this context, professional education could improve understanding of FND and optimize patient management.

Opinion, knowledge, and clinical experience with functional neurological disorders among Italian neurologists: results from an online survey

Giometto B.;Tedeschi G.;Marotta A.
2022-01-01

Abstract

Background: Functional neurological disorders (FND) are disabling medical conditions commonly seen in neurological practice. Neurologists play an essential role in managing FND, from establishing a diagnosis to coordination of multidisciplinary team-based treatment for patients. With this study, we investigated the knowledge and the clinical experience of Italian neurologists in managing patients with FND. Methods: Members of the Italian Society of Neurology were invited via e-mail to participate in this ad hoc online survey; 492 questionnaires were returned completed. Results: The term “Functional neurological disorders” in reference to FND was used more frequently than other psychological (e.g., psychogenic or conversion), or descriptive terms (e.g., non-organic or stress-related). When speaking with patients, the respondents stated that they preferred explaining symptoms based on abnormal functioning of the nervous system than discussing mental illness and that they would refer their patient to a psychologist rather than to a psychiatrist. Few considered that physiotherapy and psychiatric interventions are useful approaches to treating FND. Some believed that patients simulate their symptoms. Conclusions: Overall, the responses suggest that knowledge about scientific advances in FND is somewhat sparse. A psychiatric-centered view of FND opens the way to an approach in which neurobiological and psychological aspects constitute essential factors of the condition. In this context, professional education could improve understanding of FND and optimize patient management.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3021277
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