Functional disorder

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Not to be confused with Functional medicine.

A functional disorder is a medical condition that impairs the normal function of a bodily process, but where every part of the body looks completely normal under examination, dissection or even under a microscope. This stands in contrast to a structural disorder (in which some part of the body can be seen to be abnormal) or a psychosomatic disorder (in which symptoms are caused by psychological or psychiatric illness). Definitions vary somewhat between fields of medicine.

Generally, the mechanism that causes a functional disorder is unknown, poorly understood, or occasionally unimportant for treatment purposes. The brain or nerves are often believed to be involved. It is common that a person with one functional disorder will have others.


Whether a given medical condition is termed a functional disorder depends in part on the state of knowledge. Some diseases, including epilepsy, schizophrenia, and migraine headaches were once considered functional disorders, but are no longer generally classified that way.[1]


Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Fibromyalgia (FMS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Chronic Pelvic Pain (CPP), Interstitial Cystitis (IC), Temporomandibular Joint Pain (TMJ), Functional, Organic, or Psychogenic Neurological Disorders (Multiple names), Non-Cardiac Chest Pain (NCCP), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Dysuria (Pain On Urination), and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Natelson, Benjamin H. (1998). Facing and fighting fatigue: a practical approach. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press. p. 33. ISBN 0-300-07401-8.