Conversion Disorder

853 Words4 Pages
Conversion disorder is a medical condition where its sufferers present neurological symptoms such as paralysis, numbness, blindness or fits without a known neurological trigger. Conversion disorder, formerly known as hysteria is considered a psychiatric disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which classifies it as a somatoform disorder. Contrary, World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) classifies it as a dissociative disorder. The diagnosis of this neurological disorder has been problematic in the past, since doctors have conceptually and practically differentiated its symptoms from those of neurological diseases for which it is known to be. Most psychologists have presumed the conversion disorder to be a psychological disorder, but the psychological mechanism, and how this varies from conscious simulation has eluded most of them. Present diagnostic systems demand that conscious simulation or feigning be excluded and that symptoms be explained psychologically. Truth is during diagnosis, conscious simulation is very hard to prove, and a psychological explanation in most instances cannot be found. Childhood and adult psychological precipitant studies tend to support the idea of stressful life events to have happened prior to symptoms onset, but in individual cases, stressful life events are not a major cause. Therefore, these contradictions highlight serious practical and theoretical issues in the current diagnostic systems and the concept of the disorder itself. Advanced physiology, psychology and functional imaging techniques have been applied on the higher side in attempts to clearly explain the neurobiology of conversion disorder and to differentiate it fro... ... middle of paper ... ...nge, dissociative stupor (F44.2) – absence of voluntary movement, Trance and possession disorders (F44.3) – temporary loss of sense of personal identity. DSM IV further lists five types of dissociative disorder which are depersonalization disorder (DSM- IV Code 300.6) – characterized by periods of detachment from self and surrounding, Dissociative amnesia (DSM- IV code 300.12) – impairment of recall due to emotional trauma, Dissociative fugue (DSM- IV code 300.13) - impaired recall of the past and surrounding, Dissociative identity disorder (DSM- IV code 300.14) – alternation of two or more distinct personality states. To conclude, a review carried out in 2007 noted that conversion and dissociative disorders are statistically similar with common underlying causes. Therefore, conversion disorder should be reclassified from a somatoform to a dissociative disorder.
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