What Is Conversion Disorder?

To understand conversion disorder, individuals must first understand somatization, which conversion disorder is a form of. Somatization is experiencing psychological distress through physical (somatic) symptoms, and often seeking medical assistance for physical ailments rather than psychological ones first.
As stated, conversion disorder is a form of somatization, and as such, it is related to Somatic Symptom Disorder. Conversion disorder itself is a condition in which an individual experiences symptoms that affect their nervous system (e.g., paralysis) without an explanation from a physical injury or illness. Conversion disorder often occurs after significant emotional, psychological, or physical distress.

Start reading to learn everything you need to know about conversion disorder, including its symptoms, treatment options, as well as some key prevention methods.

Signs And Symptoms

Symptoms of conversion disorder and their severity vary based on the individual experiencing them. However, they typically include a range of neurological symptoms, such as sudden vision issues (e.g., blindness or double vision), paralysis (e.g., one limb), speech paralysis, slurred speech, and difficulty swallowing. Other neurological symptoms include a loss of senses (e.g., touch, smell, or hearing), tremors, weakness or numbness in limbs, and have trouble balancing. Reports indicate some individuals with conversion disorder may also experience seizures or hallucinations.

In most cases of conversion disorder, the symptoms will appear without warning when a stressful event occurs. They also tend to disappear suddenly as well, typically once the perceived danger or stress has passed. Though symptoms may appear only once, it is also common for the same symptoms to appear when the stressor that caused them reappears or is remembered.

Continue reading to learn about the causes of conversion disorder.