Fast Five Quiz: Can You Answer These Challenging Psychiatry Questions?

Stephen Soreff, MD


March 13, 2017

The sodium amytal interview was once commonly used for diagnosing conversion disorder because it lowers the patient's conscious defenses. However, this procedure carries significant risk and is not routinely performed in many centers. It should be carried out only by experienced physicians. Sodium amytal is a barbiturate and carries the risk for respiratory depression. It is contraindicated in patients with upper respiratory infection or airway edema, hemodynamic instability, significant liver or kidney dysfunction, and porphyria.

Brain MRI is performed for workup of conversion disorder with symptoms of hemiparesis, psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES), and psychogenic movement disorders. Hypnosis is used on occasion and may also facilitate the data-gathering process. This technique may also help alleviate the patient's anxiety and aid in relaxation. Prolonged video-EEG monitoring may be used for workup of PNES, along with several other lab studies, including echocardiography, Holter monitor, and the tilt-table test.

For more on workup for conversion disorder, read here.


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