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Functional Neurological Symptom Disorders

Activity Type:

  • On Demand

Release Date: 12/1/2018

Expiration Date: 12/31/2020

  • AMA PRA Category 1: 0.5
  • Participation: 0.5



In recent years, there has been an explosion of research in the field of neuropsychiatry. The promulgation of clinical neuroscience milestones for general psychiatrists has further underscored the importance of familiarity with neurological and psychiatric comorbidities, neurodiagnostic methods, and neuroscience findings relevant to psychiatric symptoms. The discovery that N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDA-R) antibody-associated encephalitis may present with psychosis and other psychiatric symptoms has led to renewed interest in the possible autoimmune etiology of a range of psychiatric disorders, with exciting prospects for the use of immunological therapies in psychiatry. It is now incumbent on the psychiatrist to be able to recognize when a psychiatric presentation may be due to an autoimmune disease. Furthermore, the discovery of the C9orf72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion has revolutionized our understanding of frontotemporal dementia. This gene has been associated with psychosis and mania that may precede the onset of dementia by many years. Conversely, some patients who present with atypical symptoms of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia do not have degenerative disease, but a “phenocopy syndrome” that may be related to a range of psychopathology, including autistic spectrum disorders, cluster C personality traits, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, and bipolar disorders. Functional neurological symptoms (conversion disorder) often present a challenge for clinicians, falling as they do between the conventional boundaries of neurology and psychiatry. In recent years, there has been renewed interest in understanding the related neurocircuits and developing evidence-based treatments for conversion disorder, including cognitive behavior therapy and psychodynamic approaches. This presentation discusses developments in neuropsychiatry and effective strategies in the diagnosis of functional neurological symptom disorder (conversion disorder) for the general psychiatrist.

**This content was captured at the 2017 APA Annual Meeting and may reference information from various sources and terminology from previous editions of the DSM.


  • General Member - $6.25
  • Resident-Fellow Member - Free
  • Medical Student Member - $6.25
  • Non-Member - $12.50

This course is no longer free to APA members through the Course of the Month program. Promotional pricing ended December 31, 2018.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the complexities and pitfalls of the diagnosis of functional neurological symptom disorders and how to reduce stigma
  • Discuss principles of treatment and how to deliver a diagnosis of functional neurological symptom disorder

Target Audience

Psychiatrists, Residents/Fellows

Estimated Time to Complete

Estimated Duration: 30 minutes
Begin Date: December 1, 2018
End Date: December 31, 2020

How to Earn Credit

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™ or a certificate of participation may do so by completing all sections of the course including the evaluation. A multiple choice quiz is provided based on the content. A passing score of 100% must be achieved. Retakes are available for the test. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians) or certificate of participation (non-physicians) showing the completion date and hours earned. 

Continuing Education Credit

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

The APA designates this enduring CME activity for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Faculty and Planner Disclosures


  • Sepideh N. Bajestan, M.D., Ph.D., Clinical Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford Univeristy. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. 

Program Planners

  • Tristan Gorrindo, M.D., Director of Education, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests. 
  • Codie Vassar, M.D., Medical College of Wisconsin. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Ricardo A. Juarez, M.S., Director, District Branch and International Relations, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities

The American Psychiatric Association is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities. If you have trouble accessing any of APA’s online resources, please contact us at 202-559-3900 for assistance.

Hardware/Software Requirements

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using Internet Explorer 8+, Mozilla Firefox 3+, Safari 4+. This Web site requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration:

  • Flash Player: Adobe Flash Player 10.3+ 
  • Browser: Firefox (latest version), Internet Explorer 8.0+, Safari 7.0+, Microsoft Edge (latest version) or Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows XP+ or Mac OS X 10.4+ 
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows PC: 500-MHz Pentium II; Windows XP or higher; 128 MB RAM; Video Card at least 64MB of video memory; Macromedia Flash Player 10.3 or higher; Sound Card at least 16-bit; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
  • Macintosh:Mac OS X 10.4+ or higher with latest updates installed; 1.83MHz Intel Core Duo or faster; RAM: 128MB or more; Video Card: at least 64MB of video memory; Sound Card: at least 16-bit; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content

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