Conversion Disorder or Functional Neurological Disorder?

Conversion disorder, often referred to as hysteria in the past, is a condition where people have unexplained neurological symptoms such as paralysis or tics. It’s typically triggered by an intense emotional experience that triggers anxiety and other stress reactions on top of it. This makes sense because conversion disorders are caused when someone can’t cope with their emotions that they’ve experienced – for example: being bullied at school might make them feel powerless so this may trigger psychological responses like converting physical pain into what seems like non epileptic seizures which doctors will often label these patients’ conditions “convulsions.” 

Symptoms tend to show up suddenly after experiencing some kind of stressful incident; however, not everyone who has been through something traumatic experiences conversion disorder. Medical illnesses like epilepsy or dissociative disorders.


  • Weakness or paralysis
  • Numbness or loss of the touch sensation
  • Abnormal movement, such as tremors or difficulty walking
  • Hearing problems or deafness
  • Loss of balance
  • Difficulty swallowing or feeling “a lump in the throat”
  • Seizures or episodes of shaking and apparent loss of consciousness
  • Episodes of unresponsiveness
  • Speech problems, inability to speak, or slurred speech
  • Vision problems, double vision, or blindness

Conversion disorders are not an act of malingering. People who have conversion disorder experience real and severe symptoms, which cannot be turned on or off at will (although some health care providers may tell you otherwise). Conversion is the physical manifestation of the unresolved conflict that people with this condition feel inside themselves.


The treatments for patients with conversion disorder must be tailored to each individual’s needs. One of the biggest issues associated with this is that there are many different specialists who can offer assistance – neurologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists (just to name a few), so it may take some time before an appropriate specialist diagnosis you condition or find suitable conversion disorder treatment options. This also means that these doctors should all work together in order to create your personalized care plan which will involve medical interventions as well as psychological therapy sessions.

Treatments for patients with conversion disorder

A few of the more commonly recommended treatments for brain injury are “retraining”, and retrial. The goal is to relearn normal functions, while still keeping in mind that there may be a variety of other issues with your nervous system which could also affect you – so it’s important not just to target one specific area!

Commonly recommended treatments include:

  • Psychological therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Hypnosis
  • Stress management training
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Medication

Conversion disorders are debilitating stressors for both patient and loved ones alike, with psychotherapy being one treatment strategy among many possibilities including medication or physical therapy. Contact Mindflow Recovery Institute today to learn more about what conversion disorder is all about, its signs and symptoms as well as available online treatment options.