Conversion disorder, also called functional neurological symptom disorder, is a condition in which you show psychological stress in physical ways. The condition was so named to describe a health problem that starts as a mental or emotional crisis — a scary or stressful incident of some kind — and converts to a physical problem.

For example, in conversion disorder, your leg may become paralyzed after you fall from a horse, even though you weren't physically injured. Conversion disorder signs and symptoms appear with no underlying physical cause, and you can't control them.

Signs and symptoms of conversion disorder typically affect your movement or your senses, such as the ability to walk, swallow, see or hear. Conversion disorder symptoms can vary in severity and may come and go or be persistent. The outcome may be better in younger children than in teenagers and adults. According to some experts, most people get better with immediate and proper management.

Feb. 27, 2014