Efficacy of brief interdisciplinary psychotherapeutic intervention for motor conversion disorder and nonepileptic attacks

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2015 Sep-Oct;37(5):448-55. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2015.05.007. Epub 2015 May 29.


Objective: The objective was to compare a brief interdisciplinary psychotherapeutic intervention to standard care as treatments for patients recently diagnosed with severe motor conversion disorder or nonepileptic attacks.

Methods: This randomized controlled trial of 23 consecutive patients compared (a) an interdisciplinary psychotherapeutic intervention group receiving four to six sessions by a consultation liaison psychiatrist, the first and last sessions adding a neurological consultation and a joint psychiatric and neurological consultation, and (b) a standard care group. After intervention, patients were assessed at 2, 6 and 12 months with the Somatoform Dissociation Questionnaire (SDQ-20), Clinical Global Impression scale, Rankin scale, use of medical care, global mental health [Montgomery and Asberg Depression Rating Scale, Beck Depression Inventory, mental health component of Short Form (SF)-36] and quality of life (SF-36). We calculated linear mixed models.

Results: Our intervention brought a statistically significant improvement of physical symptoms [as measured by the SDQ-20 (P<.02) and the Clinical Global Impression scale (P=.02)] and psychological symptoms [better scores on the mental health component of the SF-36 (P<.05) and on the Beck Depression Inventory (P<.05)] and a reduction in new hospital stays after intervention (P<.05).

Conclusion: A brief psychotherapeutic intervention taking advantage of a close collaboration with neurology consultants in the setting of consultation liaison psychiatry appears effective.

Keywords: Conversion disorder; Dissociative disorder; Functional neurological symptom disorder; Nonepileptic attack; Psychotherapeutic intervention.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Conversion Disorder / therapy*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Dissociative Disorders / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Patient Care Team
  • Psychotherapy, Brief*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires