Conversion disorder refers to a mental health condition that has symptoms that indicate neurological signs such as speech impairment, numbness, paralysis, blindness, and tremors but without any neurological cause, substance abuse or physical disease. These symptoms are preceded by psychological stress or conflicts in life. This disorder is caused by psychological reactions from a highly stressful condition or event. Other psychological disorder and depression are common in patients experiencing conversion disorder (Voon et al, 2010). The condition may take a long period to develop and thus it is crucial for therapists to understand the client’s past life in relation to the contributing factors. People with medical illness, dissociative and personality disorder are at a greater risk of developing this condition. Etiology
Conversion disorder is also referred to as hysterical neurosis. The conditions are considered as unfortunate because symptoms are much more common to unsophisticated and uneducated people (Kanaan et al, 2007). The real conversion symptoms are generally an extension or reflection of symptoms seen or experienced by patient. In most cases, when the symptoms of the disorder arise, a reduction on anxiety level is realized. Close inspection confirms that symptoms are not premeditated but simply happens. Although the observers may have a feeling that there is a purpose behind the symptoms, the patient is usually unaware of any of such things. Clinical Signs and Symptoms
Although pathophysiologic relevance is not clear, PET scanning has indicated that patients with conversion hemianesthesia or hemiplegia have reduced activation of thalamus and contralateral basal ganglia. This is likely to represent premorbid vulnerability to the advancement of conversion symptoms. On the other hand, it may be unrelated and epiphenomenal to the underlying causes. Most people experience their initial symptoms during early adult or adolescent years. The actual beginning of symptoms is sudden and usually follows a major stressful event in the patient’s life. Patients with this disorder experience only one symptom at a time. Signs and symptoms that are inconsistent with information provided by pathophysiology and anatomy characterize the disorder. For instance, a patient may suffer blindness, yet his cortical visual is normal. Inspection of the symptomatology case corresponds with patient’s conception of the way that illness manifests itself. A patient, who complains of unsteadiness and walking problem, could be having a malady conception though he does not have symptomatology evident upon bedsit examination expected by the physicians (Karin et al, 2005). This means that although the patient may lurch and stumble in an effort to cross from the bed to the chair, no truncal ataxia or deficiency on heel-to-knee-to-shin and finger-to-nose testing. Patients experiencing conversion disorder do not intentionally feign the symptoms as noted with malingerers, but experience themselves as genuine. Conversion anesthesia can occur in any place though it is more common on the extremities. A typical distribution of “glove and stocking” may appear in a polyneuropathy. Areas for conversion anesthesia tend to have a very sharp and precise boundary, usually located at a joint. Similar sharp boundary for nonphysiologic may appear in conversion hemianesthesia where the boundary precisely and accurately bisects the body along the sagittal plane (Karin et al, 2005). Other anomalies may also appear upon examination. For instance, patients who complain about entire lack of sensory modalities, vibratory sense included, in the foot or hand may nevertheless comprise intact position sense at the toe or index finger. Similarly, patients with similar lack of feelings in the legs are nonetheless indicates a negative Romberg test and are not able to walk normally. This means that when some patients...