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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Conversion disorder

Other Names for this Disease
  • FND
  • Functional movement disorder
  • Functional neurological disorder
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Your Question

I was diagnosed with conversion disorder 10 years ago and still walk with an aid and have trouble with my balance. How is this condition treated? What is the prognosis for individuals with this condition? 

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

How might conversion disorder be treated?

For many people, symptoms of conversion disorder get better without treatment, especially after reassurance that their symptoms aren't caused by a serious underlying problem.[1]

Individuals with severe symptoms, signs and symptoms that linger or keep coming back, or individuals with other mental or physical health conditions may benefit from treatment. The specific type of treatment depends on the particular signs and symptoms and may include:[1]

Last updated: 9/20/2010

What is the prognosis for individuals with conversion disorder?

Symptoms usually last for days to weeks and may suddenly go away. Usually the symptom itself is not life threatening, but complications can be debilitating.[2]

For most people, symptoms of conversion disorder get better with nothing more than reassurance that they don't have a serious health problem. However, up to one in four people may show new conversion symptoms later on.[1][3] Individuals may be more likely to have long-lasting symptoms or develop new conversion disorder symptoms if:[1]

  • They delay seeking treatment
  • Their symptoms aren't clearly linked to stress
  • Their symptoms come on slowly, or don't improve quickly
  • They have more-serious psychiatric conditions along with conversion disorder
  • They have tremors or seizures not caused by epilepsy  


Last updated: 9/20/2010

How long do symptoms of conversion disorder typically last?

The symptoms of conversion disorder usually do not last long. In general, the more quickly the symptoms start, the more rapidly they go away. Symptoms are more likely to last only a short time if the stress is clearly defined. More severe symptoms, such as paralysis or blindness, are less likely to last a long time because it is difficult to sustain symptoms that interfere significantly with daily activities. A less severe symptom (such as tremor) or a symptom that is repeated and limited (such as seizure) can continue or come and go, depending on the nature of the stress.[4] 

Some individuals with on-going symptoms may actually have a different diagnosis. Approximately 25% are diagnosed with a neurological disease in 10-year follow-up studies that could account for the presenting symptoms.[3] Ongoing symptoms should be discussed with your physician who can help to determine if your symptoms can be attributed to another underlying illness.
Last updated: 9/20/2010