Conversion Disorder

Conversion Disorder, also known as Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder, is a mental disorder characterized by neurologic symptoms (either motor or sensory) that is incompatible with any known neurologic disease. Common symptoms include weakness and/or paralysis, non-epileptic seizures, movement disorders, speech or visual impairment, swallowing difficulty, sensory disturbances, or cognitive symptoms.

Criterion A

1 or more symptoms of altered voluntary motor or sensory function. 

Criterion B

Clinical findings provide evidence of incompatibility between the symptom and recognized neurological or medical conditions. 

Criterion C

The symptom or deficit is not better explained by another medical or mental disorder.

Criterion D

The symptom or deficit causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning or warrants medical evaluation.


Symptom type specifiers

Specify if:

  • With weakness or paralysis

  • With abnormal movement (e.g., tremor, dystonic movement, myoclonus, gait disorder)
  • With swallowing symptoms
  • With speech symptom (e.g., dysphonia, slurred speech)
  • With attacks or seizures
  • With anesthesia or sensory loss

  • With special sensory symptom (e.g., visual, olfactory, or hearing disturbance)
  • With mixed symptoms

Episode and stressor specifier

Specify if:

  • Acute episode: Symptoms present for less than 6 months.
  • Persistent: Symptoms occurring for 6 months or more.

Specify if:

  • With psychological stressor (specify stressor)
  • Without psychological stressor

Comparison of Somatic Disorders

Somatic symptom disorder Excessive anxiety & preoccupation with > 1 unexplained symptoms
Illness anxiety disorder Fear of having a serious illness despite few or no symptoms and consistently negative investigations
Conversion disorder Neurologic symptom incompatible with any known neurologic disease; often acute onset associated with stress
Factitious disorder Intentional falsification or inducement of symptoms with goal to assume sick role
Malingering Falsification or exaggeration of symptoms to obtain external incentives (secondary gain)
  • Education & self-help techniques - first-line
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy - second-line
  • Physical therapy for motor symptoms