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hope2Cbetter 05-07-2004 10:12 AM

anyone heard of "conversion disorder"
Hi, I am new to this board and looking for help. Over a year ago I fell and hit the back of my head and my vision has been extremely blurry since then. All the tests on my eyes come back negative. Finding no physical cause for my vision problem, two psychiatrists have diagnosed me with conversion disorder. Does anyone have it, know what it is, know how to be treated for it?? Does it get better? I am currently in therapy for depression but do I need some special kind of therapist for "conversion disorder"? Please help with any information you might have. Thank you so much!!

hry33 05-07-2004 01:09 PM

Re: anyone heard of "conversion disorder"
ask the psych who diagnosed you to advise on the treatment you should get for it

Polaris 05-11-2004 08:28 AM

Re: anyone heard of "conversion disorder"
[QUOTE=hope2Cbetter]Hi, I am new to this board and looking for help. Over a year ago I fell and hit the back of my head and my vision has been extremely blurry since then. All the tests on my eyes come back negative. Finding no physical cause for my vision problem, two psychiatrists have diagnosed me with conversion disorder. Does anyone have it, know what it is, know how to be treated for it?? Does it get better? I am currently in therapy for depression but do I need some special kind of therapist for "conversion disorder"? Please help with any information you might have. Thank you so much!![/QUOTE]


If you do a search for conversion disorder you can find several websites with information. Here is some information that I have found:

Conversion Disorder
Whilst "hysterical" blindness, paralysis, anesthesia, dysphagia, and gait disturbance have been described for many years, This patient confronts an acute stressor that creates a psychic conflict, and the physical symptom(s) serve as the resolution for the conflict. The patient may repress the stressor or be unaware of its impact. Failure to recognize and treat this early in the course may lead to symptoms which eventually become harder or impossible to cure. This disorder may occur at any age, either gender, any personality. A conversion disorder is characterized by the loss of a bodily function, for example blindness , paralysis, or the inability to speak . The loss of physical function is involuntary, but diagnostic testing does not show a physical cause for the dysfunction.

At least one symptom or deficit of sensory or voluntary motor function suggests a neurological or general medical condition.

It is not limited to pain or sexual dysfunction.

Appropriate investigation does not identify a neurological or general medical condition or the direct effects of substance use that can fully explain it.

Conflicts or other stressors that precede the onset or worsening of this symptom suggest that psychological factors are related to it.

The patient doesn't consciously feign the symptoms for material gain (Factitious Disorder) or to occupy the sick role (Malingering).

It is not a culturally sanctioned behavior or experience.

It is serious enough to produce at least 1 of:

warrants medical evaluation, or
causes distress that is clinically important, or
impairs social, occupational or personal functioning

It does not occur solely during Somatization Disorder, and no other mental disorder better explains it.

Symptom Groupings:

Sensory Symptoms: These include anesthesia, excessive sensitivity to strong simulation (hyperanesthesia), loss of sense of pain (analgesia), and unusual symptoms such as tingling or crawling sensations.

Motor Symptoms: In motor symptoms, any of the body's muscle groups may be involved: arms, legs, vocal chords. Included are tremors, tics (involuntary twitches), and disorganized mobility or paralysis.

Visceral Symptoms: Examples are trouble swallowing, frequent belching, spells of coughing or vomiting, all carried to an uncommon extreme. In both sensory and motor symptoms, the areas affected may not correspond at all to the nerve distribution in the area.

Specify type of symptom or deficit:

With Motor Symptom or Deficit.
With Seizures or Convulsions.
With Sensory Symptom or Deficit.
With Mixed Presentation.

Associated Features:
Depressed Mood.
Somatic or Sexual Dysfunction.
Guilt or Obsession.
Anxious or Fearful or Dependent Personality.

Differential Diagnosis:

Some disorders have similar or even the same symptom. The clinician, therefore, in his diagnostic attempt has to differentiate against the following disorders which he needs to rule out to establish a precise diagnosis.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Histrionic Personality Disorder.
Dependent personality Disorder.


The symptom onset of this disorder is usually very sudden and follows a stressful experience. These disorders may be best thought of as disturbances of illness perception or need. They are paradigms of mind-body interactions and of the critical role of mental factors in the production of illness. Though the role of the mind in creating and maintaining illness has been known since antiquity, terms such as hysteria or psychosomatic illness have lost their meaning over time. All illnesses are "psychosomatic:" they occur in an individual at a particular psychological point in his/her life.

I hope this helps!
Good luck!

hope2Cbetter 05-11-2004 09:42 AM

Re: anyone heard of "conversion disorder"
Thank you for the information Polaris. I have had a difficult time finding information about this. My therapist says it's a rare condition and even she does not find much information on it. I will just try to dig a little deeper to see what I can find. Thanks again!

alphamale9009 05-22-2004 01:18 AM

Re: anyone heard of "conversion disorder"
I think conversion disorder is a throwback to Freudian "hysteria" where mental problems produce unexplainable physical symptoms. You may have a bad diagnosis. If you hit your head, you may have slight brain damage, a part of your brain may be pinching your optic nerve or your visual processing centers may be damaged and obstructing your vision. You could also have a swollen part in your brain or a blood clot. If they have not done brain scans, get some done. It is highly likely that you sustained some damage in the part of the brain that processes visual images.


hope2Cbetter 05-22-2004 06:19 AM

Re: anyone heard of "conversion disorder"
Alpha, I have had an MRI of my brain and a CT was taken immediately after my injury - both show nothing -damage-wise - but it does prove I DO have a brain!! :D There may be a new development for me, however, as completely by accident a real estate agent asked if I'd seen a chiropractor because falling on my tailbone could have jarred my spine into my neck/head causing a pinched nerve in my neck. I saw a chiro on May 12 and we may be onto something. The chiro said I have a misalignment of my C1-C2 vertebrae which can happen in whiplash injuries and my falling and striking my head as I did could be a form of whiplash injury. This is what I am checking out now. I am desparate to find a medical reason for my vision problems because my husband has already decided I must be mentally ill since "they can't find anything medically wrong with you". (jerk!) That's a story forthe "depression" boards! I return to the chiro May 25 to compare spinal films he took with some I had taken 6 years ago and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a plan of action!

Budko 05-22-2004 07:40 AM

Re: anyone heard of "conversion disorder"

I just posted about My so called conversion disorder. I never got dx by a Shrink. I got DX by Neuro and a Neuro-Physco. I have been physically sick for 2 years. I know that mental illness does not pick it victims, but I think that Shrinks and other doctors have gone too far. If they can't figure it out, then it must be mental. I have choose not to see a shrink under the reccomendation of 2 doctors. I feel that their DX is so far out of reach. I am not a Doctor or a Shrink, but I know myself well enough to be honest with myself. I don't see any kind of conflict within myself. One year ago I quit my job (which I loved) to regain physical health. Since then I have new symptoms and no one wants to hear about them. Why? I will tell you why CUZ THEY LABELED ME! Now what do I do if I am really sick? Are they sending me to the rubber room or am I getting treatment? I wonder.

I think that you need to look inside yourself and really ask, Is this really what I need? Maybe your Shrink is great, but be careful, I don't trust them. How funny that the information is so vague. I have been to the Library and really have not found much on it. This might help a little bit....My Neuro-Physco, said that I need Phsycotherapy with empahsis on Behavioral skills for the conversion disorder. Now I haven not found any shrink here in NM that does that. So, what the heck is it? See, I think there is something awfully fishy going around here. Beside, any Doctor that is going to look into my mind better be mentally healthy. I have read a report that said Shrinks are mostly mentally unstable themselves. Well, I am sorry but heck I am not going to allow Jeffery Dhamer, Physco analyze me. Ok! so we know Kim is agaisnt Shrinks.

I am not sure if I helped or hurt you. I wish you all the luck with a healthy body and mind. Don't stop searching for an answer.


hope2Cbetter 05-22-2004 08:15 AM

Re: anyone heard of "conversion disorder"
KIM, I'm sorry to hear you've been told the same thing as I have. I read your post and hope you will continue to look for help medically, as you have a lot of symptoms I don't have. The only thing I can't "fix" right now is my very blurry vision - I have none of the other symptoms you do. I agree with you that we have been "labeled" as a mental case because the doctors have not yet found the physical cause of our problems. I don't necessarily like or dislike my therapist - she's about 10 years younger than me and I bring more ideas to our sessions that I want to talk about than she herself suggests! As with you, I have searched within myself and I find no "traumatic" event that precluded the onset of my vision problems. I had seen a therapist a few months before my accident who diagnosed me with "adjustment reaction" - I was having trouble adjusting to the fact that the last of 4 children had just moved out, 9/11 had happened (which shook me to my core as an "older" American who realized what that attack did to us as a nation!!), my husband of 30 years had returned to college and had NO time for me at all what with his studying and his traveling job, and I was dealing with some stress at my job because a co-worker had quit and my work load was increased for weeks. Those are are normal stressors (kind of) and I just needed to talk to someone about how I was feeling since my husband turns a deaf ear to stuff like that. And because I had seen a therapist in the past - this gave the new doctors and psychiatrists the ammunition they needed to LABEL me, also!! (Mine was an employment related accident and insurance doctors and psychiatrists couldn't find anything "medically" wrong, so after I spent a few months going from specialist to specialist, the last specialist I saw -a neuropsychologist - said I was suffering from long-standing depression and diagnosed me with factitious disorder - in effect telling my whole world that I am FAKING IT!! I was so mad and hurt. So, my disability payments through workers compensation was terminated and here I am looking for an answer. When I find one, you can bet I'm going back to that neuropsych that said I'm faking and I'm going to take great delight in shoving the report down his lying throat!! sorry to ramble! Please, for yourself, seek more medical care. go to someone you've not seen and don't tell them what any other doctor has said sofar. Let them make their own diagnosis. Good luck toyou! I'll be praying for you :angel:

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