Conversion disorder, also called functional neurological symptom disorder, is a medical problem involving the function of the nervous system; specifically, the brain and body’s nerves are unable to send and receive signals properly. As a result of this “communication” problem, patients with conversion disorders may have difficulty moving their limbs or have problems with one or more of their senses.
In the past, conversion disorder was thought to be an entirely psychological disorder, where psychological problems get “converted” into physical symptoms. Today, conversion disorder is recognized as its own distinct disorder. Psychological issues (for example, trauma, personal conflicts, life stressors) are often seen in patients with conversion disorder symptoms, but are not always present in all patients.
Care of patients with conversion disorder overlaps the fields of psychiatry and neurology. However, it is important to note that the symptoms are real; they are not made up and patients are not faking them.