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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Conversion Disorder
      Category : Health Centers > Mental Health (Mental Disorders)

Conversion Disorder

Alternate Names : Hysterical Conversion

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

A conversion disorder is a condition in which a person develops certain physical symptoms, such as paralysis or visual impairment, in response to severe psychological stress. No physical cause can be found for these symptoms.

What is going on in the body?

This disorder occurs most often among people 10 to 35 years old. Among older people, there is a much greater chance that unexplained symptoms are caused by a medical problem.

Usually, the disorder lasts only for a few weeks or months. During that time, a person may be unable to work or even carry out daily activities. Conversion disorder is not thought to make a person more vulnerable to real health problems.

Many people who suffer conversion symptoms have medical problems as well.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Experts believe that the symptoms are caused by the "conversion" of emotional distress into physical distress. Certain factors raise a person's risk for this disorder, including:

  • having a family member with the disorder
  • .
  • having been sexually abused as a child
  • having a very stressful home or work life
  • being a woman
  • belonging to a lower socioeconomic class


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    Conversion Disorder: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Michael Johnson, MD
    Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Date Reviewed: 06/01/01

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