Conversion Disorder

In conversion disorder, physical symptoms that resemble those of a nervous system (neurologic) disorder develop.

The symptoms are commonly triggered by mental factors such as conflicts or other stresses.

  • Individuals may complain that an arm or leg is paralysed or that they have lost their sense of touch, sight, or hearing.
  • Many physical examinations and tests are usually done to make sure symptoms do not result from a physical disorder.
  • Reassurance from a supportive, trusted medical professional can help, as can hypnosis and psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioural therapy.

Conversion disorder is a form of somatisation, in which mental factors are expressed as physical symptoms.

Conversion disorder is thought to be caused by mental factors, such as stress and conflict, which individuals with this disorder experience as (convert into) physical symptoms.

Although conversion disorder tends to develop during late childhood to early adulthood, it may appear at any age.

The disorder appears to be more common among women.

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