1. What is a functional disorder?
    A functional disorder is a disorder with physical symptoms which make everyday life difficult. The exact cause is unknown, but it can be seen as a disorder where the mind and the body for various reasons are not functioning properly.

  2. Is it a mental disorder?
    Functional disorders challenge our usual way of thinking about diseases as either purely physical or psychological. Research indicates that this perception is too plain. In a functional disorder both physiological and psychosocial factors are at play. For some patients a functional disorder is triggered by physical stress (e.g. an infection or a traffic accident), for others psychosocial circumstances dominate, and finally in some patients we can't find any obvious cause.

  3. How is it diagnosed?
    The diagnosis is made by looking at the symptoms, the medical examinations and the entire pathological picture. Patients suffering from functional disorders have often been through numerous examinations to rule out other diseases, and the patients may receive many different diagnoses. This is often due to a lack of knowledge of functional disorders.

  4. Is it a modern western lifestyle disease?
    No. Functional disorders have always existed. We can find descriptions of functional disorders several thousand years back, and they can be found in all cultures.

  5. How many people are suffering from a functional disorder?
    All people experience functional symptoms that quickly pass or that are very mild. Tests show that around 6% of the Danish population suffers from a functional disorder that affects their work ability or quality of life. That corresponds to 300,000 people in Denmark.

  6. Can a functional disorder be treated?
    Yes. The best documented treatment is currently graded exercise therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy. Some will benefit from medication. Furthermore, other treatment methods are being tested, e.g. mindfulness, ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and various forms of medicine. Some patients can recover. Most can be helped to get a better life.




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Revised 09.07.2014