Functional Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology of Functional Neurological Disorders (Conversion Disorder)

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. Summer 2016;28(3):168-90. doi: 10.1176/appi.neuropsych.14090217. Epub 2016 Feb 22.


Much is known regarding the physical characteristics, comorbid symptoms, psychological makeup, and neuropsychological performance of patients with functional neurological disorders (FNDs)/conversion disorders. Gross neurostructural deficits do not account for the patients' deficits or symptoms. This review describes the literature focusing on potential neurobiological (i.e. functional neuroanatomic/neurophysiological) findings among individuals with FND, examining neuroimaging and neurophysiological studies of patients with the various forms of motor and sensory FND. In summary, neural networks and neurophysiologic mechanisms may mediate "functional" symptoms, reflecting neurobiological and intrapsychic processes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / etiology
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Conversion Disorder / blood
  • Conversion Disorder / complications*
  • Conversion Disorder / pathology*
  • Conversion Disorder / physiopathology
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans