Conversion Disorder

860 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…show more content…
The diagnosis of conversion disorder involves three elements all of which present some degree of controversy. These three elements are: the exclusion of neurological disease, feigning and finally the determination of a psychological mechanism. During the first stage, conversion disorder may resemble neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, stroke or epilepsy therefore they must be carefully excluded through appropriate examinations. In rare cases, patients with neurological disease may also have conversion disorder, which further complicates the determination of the degree of the conversion disorder in the patient. Exclusion of conscious simulation is only possible where a patient confesses or is caught out in a broader deception. Lastly, establishment of a psychological mechanism is the most difficult aspect of conversion disorder diagnosis. DSM-IV recommends that clinicians assume preceding stressors to be associated with the progress of the disorder which is still a subject of debate. Notably, cultural influences have been noted to affect the somatoform disorders. Cultures such as the Puerto Rican and the Greek are known to report higher rates of somatization disorders among the men than is the case in the United States. In addition, cases of somatization disorders are less common among persons with higher levels of education compared to the less educated. According to Robert (2002), rates are higher outside of the west, which can be attributed to
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