What is a conversion disorder?

Conversion disorder is a condition in which a person experiences physical symptoms that have no medical explanation.

The symptoms can vary greatly from person to person and can be very physical (like blindness or paralysis) or psychological (like a phobia or mood disorder).

Symptoms of conversion disorder usually start abruptly in a stressful or traumatic event. Most of the time symptoms also stop abruptly.

  • Tremors with limited consciousness
  • Problem with balance
  • Weakness or numbness in arms or legs
  • Vision Problem such as blindness or double Vision
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Slurred speech or an inability to speak
  • Partial or total hearing loss

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One comment

  1. Conversion disorder (CD), or functional neurologic symptom disorder, is a diagnostic category used in some psychiatric classification systems. It is sometimes applied to patients who present with neurological symptoms, such as numbness, blindness, paralysis, or fits, which are not consistent with a well-established organic cause, which cause significant distress, and can be traced back to a psychological trigger.

    It is thought that these symptoms arise in response to stressful situations affecting a patient\’s mental health or an ongoing mental health condition such as depression. Conversion disorder was retained in DSM-5, but given the subtitle functional neurological symptom disorder.

    The new criteria cover the same range of symptoms, but remove the requirements for a psychological stressor to be present and for feigning to be disproved. ICD-10 classifies conversion disorder as a dissociative disorder while DSM-IV classifies it as a somatoform disorder.

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