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Case Reports in Psychiatry
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 2735329, 4 pages
Case Report

A Case of Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Presenting as Conversion Disorder

1Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, USA
2Psychiatry at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, USA
3Neurology at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Rehan Aziz

Received 16 January 2017; Accepted 19 April 2017; Published 3 May 2017

Academic Editor: Erik Jönsson

Copyright © 2017 Nikhil Yegya-Raman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a rare disorder of the central nervous system. Its initial diagnosis may be obscured by its variable presentation. This case report illustrates the complexity of diagnosing this disease early in the clinical course, especially when the initial symptoms may be psychiatric. It offers a brief review of the literature and reinforces a role for consultation psychiatry services. Methods. PUBMED/MEDLINE was searched using the terms “Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease”, “psychiatric symptoms”, “conversion disorder”, “somatic symptom disorder”, “functional movement disorder”, and “functional neurologic disorder”. Case. The patient was a 64-year-old woman with no prior psychiatric history who was initially diagnosed with conversion disorder and unspecified anxiety disorder but soon thereafter was discovered to have Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Discussion. This case highlights the central role of psychiatric symptoms in early presentations of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Still, few other cases in the literature report functional neurological symptoms as an initial sign. The consultation psychiatrist must remain alert to changing clinical symptoms, especially with uncharacteristic disease presentations.