Functional [psychogenic nonepileptic/dissociative] seizures (FND-seiz) and related functional neurological disorder subtypes were of immense interest to early founders of modern-day neurology and psychiatry. Unfortunately, the divide that occurred between the both specialties throughout the mid-twentieth century placed FND-seiz at the borderland between the two disciplines. In the process, a false Cartesian dualism emerged that labeled psychiatric conditions as impairments of the mind and neurological conditions as disturbances in structural neuroanatomy. Excitingly, modern-day neuropsychiatric perspectives now consider neurologic and psychiatric conditions as disorders of both brain and mind. In this article, we aim to integrate neurologic and psychiatric perspectives in the conceptual framing of FND-seiz. In doing so, we explore emerging relationships between symptoms, neuropsychological constructs, brain networks, and neuroendocrine/autonomic biomarkers of disease. Evidence suggests that the neuropsychological constructs of emotion processing, attention, interoception, and self-agency are important in the pathophysiology of FND-seiz. Furthermore, FND-seiz is a multi-network brain disorder, with evidence supporting roles for disturbances within and across the salience, limbic, attentional, multimodal integration, and sensorimotor networks. Risk factors, including the magnitude of previously experienced adverse life events, relate to individual differences in network architecture and neuroendocrine profiles. The time has come to use an integrated neuropsychiatric approach that embraces the closely intertwined relationship between physical health and mental health to conceptualize FND-seiz and related functional neurological disorder subtypes.
About The Expert
David L Perez