FAQ: What Is Dissociative Conversion Disorder?

The dissociative disorder or conversion disorder category in ICD-10 incorporates a range of problems characterized by pseudo-neurological symptoms (e.g. paralysis, pseudoseizures, sensory loss, gait disturbances, among others) along with those dissociative symptoms as in DSM-IV-TR.

What are the symptoms of conversion disorder?


  • Weakness or paralysis.
  • Abnormal movement, such as tremors or difficulty walking.
  • Loss of balance.
  • Difficulty swallowing or feeling “a lump in the throat”
  • Seizures or episodes of shaking and apparent loss of consciousness (nonepileptic seizures)
  • Episodes of unresponsiveness.

What is an example of conversion disorder?

Common examples of conversion symptoms include blindness, diplopia, paralysis, dystonia, psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES), anesthesia, aphonia, amnesia, dementia, unresponsiveness, swallowing difficulties, motor tics, hallucinations, pseudocyesis and difficulty walking.

Is dissociative disorder the same as conversion disorder?

DSM-IV conversion disorder is considered a dissociative disorder in ICD-10.

What happens during conversion disorder?

Conversion disorder is a disorder in which a person experiences blindness, paralysis, or other symptoms affecting the nervous system that cannot be explained solely by a physical illness or injury. Symptoms usually begin suddenly after a period of emotional or physical distress or psychological conflict.

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How do you get conversion disorder?

One of the more commonly reported scenarios is that conversion disorder may be triggered by the body’s reaction to psychological trauma or a stressful event. Other doctors and researchers believe that a physical injury, infection, migraine, or panic attacks might trigger the development of conversion disorder.

Is conversion disorder a mental illness?

Conversion disorder is a mental condition in which a person has blindness, paralysis, or other nervous system (neurologic) symptoms that cannot be explained by medical evaluation.

How do you diagnose conversion disorder?

Conversion Disorder Diagnosis There’s no test to diagnose conversion disorder. Your doctor will start by ruling out other physical, mental, or neurological causes of your symptoms. They may ask you if you’ve had any recent stressful events.

Can a person recover from conversion disorder?

People affected by conversion disorder generally make a full recovery. Even without treatment, symptoms are generally short-term, usually lasting a few days to a few weeks, and often resolve themselves. However, without treatment, recurrences are common.

What would lead you to suspect a conversion disorder over a medical symptom diagnosis?

A doctor will diagnose conversion disorder using criteria defined by the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). These criteria include: loss of control of movement or sensory symptoms. symptoms occurring after a traumatic or stressful event.

Is conversion disorder an anxiety disorder?

It is common for a person with conversion disorder to also have a co-occurring mental health condition. This might include a mood disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociative disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, somatic disorders, and personality disorders.

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Does dissociative amnesia go away?

The capacity for dissociation may decrease with age. Most patients recover their missing memories, and amnesia resolves. However, some are never able to reconstruct their missing past.

What are the four types of dissociative disorders?

Dissociative disorders include dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, depersonalisation disorder and dissociative identity disorder. People who experience a traumatic event will often have some degree of dissociation during the event itself or in the following hours, days or weeks.

How long does it take to recover from conversion disorder?

For hospitalized patients with conversion disorder, 50% to 90% will have recovered by the time of discharge; however, 20% to 25% may relapse within 1 year.

Is conversion disorder a rare disease?

Conversion disorder is a relatively rare mental illness, with 2 to 5 out of 100,000 people reporting symptoms per year.

Is conversion a defense mechanism?

Conversion is a defense mechanism by which individuals reduce acute anxiety by transforming (converting) psychological suffering into physical symptoms, which are characterized by impair- ments in sensory and motor functions.

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