Functional Neurological Disorder - FND Hope
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FND, adrenal issues?

This is my first post here so please bear with me. I have been diagnosed with FND but researching the adrenals over the years as this has come up a few times. I don't seem to find I fit into the category of Addison's or Cushing's and I've come up negative on both. I'm not sure I fully buy into the adrenal fatigue thing either. However, it comes up a lot that FND could be caused by surgery, injury or infection and these are things that affect the adrenal glands as well and that does seem to be some connection. Mine is triggered by stress massively. Especially since there a connections with the thyroid looking at previous posts here and therefore links as well endocrinolly. I just wondered what other people thought about this what their experiences and research had brought up? 

I wondered whether they could be miscommunication between the pituitary and the adrenals on the negative feedback system on the HPA axis? I gave up coffee about the time I became ill and also oral contraceptives which can all have an impact on blood cortisol levels. Looking at my physiology I think I've had high cortisol throughout my life until I got ill. I'm now 41 and pre menopausal. As the adrenals deal with the oestrogen levels as well has made me wonder if there is some changes in these glands or not detected for some reason.

I also had high stress, surgery and infection prior to becoming ill. Plus childhood stress. Any kind of stress connection in the body should raise question marks over the adrenal system and HPA axis. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

6 Replies


I too have always wondered about the whole adrenal fatigue thing. Whilst I was ill I was tested for everything and the only thing that came back in my results were that I was borderline for addisons disease. I was never treated and eventually I got the functional neurological disorder diagnosis. I don't know what triggered my illness but it started suddenly during my third pregnancy whilst I was in bed with a virus. I have had no trauma in my life and just the usual every day stresses. Are adrenal issues a symptom of this illness? I don't know. Most on here are suffering many symptoms most being unable to walk or use a limb properly. I lost the use in my left arm and hand 2 years ago but it came back after about 2 months. Today I suffer many different symptoms mostly resembling m.e symptoms. I am still till this day unsure of my diagnosis.


Thanks for reply. Maybe if FND speeds up brain signals if it's trying to get flagging adrenals to respond via pituitary gland and HPA axis but it's just a theory at this point putting pieces together. I've looked at many angles. Thought would see what people think. Infections count as stress as far as adrenals concerned so your situation very interesting. Thanks for sharing. ME can present itself as many other options like thyroid, pituitary issues and maybe others.


Please keep me posted if you find any more information out regarding the adrenals. I am keen to learn more.

Best wishes 

Louise x


Hi Rach,

I like your thinking. I feel that the HPA axis is responsible for many symptoms and some of us may certainly benefit from an Endocrinologist. Everything is so interlinked in brain mechanism that a glitch in one area can have a domino effect elsewhere.

Good work and keep us informed : )

Angela x


Hi. I don't know for certain whether Adrenal Fatigue can cause FND, but it was one of several factors that started mine. I have bone spurs in the middle of my back, pushing forwards onto the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), which is part of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). My doctor suspects that this is a major cause of my adrenal fatigue and FND symptoms. 

Rather than telling me to stop stressing and live a more peaceful life doing meditation and deep breathing exercises (like his brother-in-law doctor in the next room told me to do), my doctor is treating me for SNS overload. I'm taking a fairly high dose of Alpha 1 Channel Agonists, which calm the SNS, i.e. Physiotens 3 times a day, alternating with 1/2 Clonidine tablet twice a day, making a total of 5 doses a day, roughly 5 hourly. Why? Because by 6 hours 15 minutes the rebound effect starts up and the adrenaline starts pumping and everything speeds up overwhelmingly, and I can't stand it.

The other reason for splitting across two medications is that the other doctors in the clinic kept trying to reduce my dose because it's way over the maximum recommended dose for either medication, and therefore they kept trying to bring me down to 3 times a day...totally inadequate for me.

He actually stumbled on this medication for me when he was worried about my high blood pressure and I complained about throwing up in public, during the same visit. When I then produced chest X-rays, he showed me the bone spurs and confirmed his diagnosis.

These meds are amazing - they stopped my crying, my adrenal overload/ overwhelm/ meltdown. They stopped my tears. I was always crying for no reason at all, and I knew I was not depressed, but that it was chemically induced. I just didn't know why. Now I knew.

A few years ago, in the main FND Facebook group, the subject of prior employment came up, and it seemed like a very large percentage of the group had worked in high pressure jobs, jobs where the adrenaline is constantly flowing or the person is required to be on constant alert with few breaks during the day. 911 call centres, child care and elderly care workers, teachers, nurses, doctors, ER workers. They all reported what I would call adrenaline overload. I found that very interesting.

The founder of FND Hope Inc has often talked about the influence of the HPA Axis. I haven't looked into it, so I can't comment about that, but report on trends I have noticed over the years.

Another trend is the number of people who's FND started after a virus, infection, minor or major accident of any kind, or the good girls who constantly worry about trying to do the right thing and worry about what other people think of them. A lot of abused teenagers from good homes end up in this category. I'm one of them.

So, is FND from trauma in the past, Adrenal issues or stress, or other medical issues? Yes, I believe all of the above. But then, what is trauma? It's just another incident that produced an overload of adrenaline, and every time someone remembers it, the adrenaline flows all over again.

So I think adrenaline could well be the central culprit. But who really knows? Now that the neurologists are starting to research this disorder, information and understanding about it has come a very long way in a very short time...after years of psychiatrists and psychologists telling everyone that we're making it up, that it's all in our heads etc so they can treat us with disrespect, finally the medical profession is starting to take notice. Thank God!!!


Hey thanks for this excellent reply! Very very very interesting! Really appreciate the time take to reply. Will bear this in mind thank you. Thank God indeed. I too had troubled childhood so find these connections super interesting! I had major stress before this ask began too. More food for thought....


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