What is a neurological condition?

A neurological condition is any condition that affects the brain, spinal cord or nervous system.

Some neurological conditions appear suddenly, such as brain injury or stroke. Some you are born with, such as epilepsy. Others, like multiple sclerosis, develop over time.

More common than you’d think

Neurological conditions affect 1 in 6 people in the UK. Here are some statistics:

  • Every year 600,000 people are newly diagnosed with a neurological condition; they cause 25% of all disabilities in this country.
  • More than 10 million people in the UK live with a neurological condition which has a significant impact on their lives.
  • At least 1 million people (2% of the UK population) are disabled by their neurological condition.
  • Approximately 850,000 people in the UK care for someone with a neurological condition.

What is the difference between a neurological condition and a mental illness?

A neurological condition (or neurological disorder) is a medical illness or disorder affecting the brain, the spinal cord, or the nervous system.

Neurological conditions are not the same as mental health conditions. However, neurological disorders can cause problems with memory or thinking, or lead to a range of mental illnesses.

The Neurological Alliance estimate more than half of all neurological patients also have mental health conditions.

Diagnosis with a neurological condition means you are twice as likely to have depression or anxiety compared to the general population. You are also twice as likely to take your own life.

For this reason, The Brain Charity also offers free mental health services like counselling and phone befriending.