What is conversion disorder?
Conversion disorder is a condition in which a person has physical symptoms, but no physical cause for them.
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People with conversion disorder display one or more symptoms of loss of sensory or motor (movement) functions. These can include: blindness or other vision difficulties (double vision, tunnel vision); deafness or other hearing difficulties; …
Conversion disorder is frequently triggered by a recent stressful event.
It is not known what exactly causes conversion disorder. The symptoms are often triggered by a stressful event; it may be that conversion disorder is a way for the brain to cope with stress by ‘channelling’ the emotional stress into physical manifestation.
Anyone can get the disorder, but it is more common in females. It is often found together with other mental health conditions, such as depression, and/or difficult life experiences such as abuse, neglect, or poverty, particularly during childhood.
Conversion disorder is diagnosed by ruling out physical reasons for the symptoms and observing the presence of risk factors for the disorder.
Treatment of conversion disorder is through psychotherapy (cognitive behaviour therapy), often in combination with physical therapy and stress management techniques.
In some cases, conversion disorder will not resolve on its own and requires treatment. However, in most cases, conversion disorder will eventually clear on its own, but treatment is advised, to shorten the duration of the symptoms.
In about 20-25% of people, episodes of conversion disorder can recur within a year.