- Conversion disorder is most simply defined as the presence of neurological symptoms (motor or sensory) without a known physiological basis.
- The neurological symptoms must be shown to be incompatible with pathophysiology.
- Conversion disorder (functional neurological symptom disorder) is classified under the Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders section of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5).
- Other diagnoses under this section include somatic symptom disorder, illness anxiety disorder, and factitious disorder.
- When considering this diagnosis, it is important to have a firm understanding of somatization.
- Somatization is the expression of mental phenomena as physical (somatic) symptoms.
- There is a continuum of unconscious/non-volitional display of symptoms (patient unaware of the non-physiologic nature of symptoms) to conscious/volitional display (patient aware of the non-physiologic nature of symptoms).
- Also important is the difference between primary gain (positive internal motivations) vs. secondary gain (positive external motivations).
- Primary gain example: A patient feels guilty about not being able to perform a task, but if there is a medical condition justifying this inability, the guilt diminishes.
- Secondary gain example: A patient is allowed to miss work and gets financial compensation as the result of a medical condition.
- Any given patient with conversion disorder will have primary and/or secondary gains associated.
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Last updated: May 2, 2017
Nathan, Margo D, and O. Joseph Bienvenu. "Conversion Disorder." Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide, 2017. Johns Hopkins Guides, www.hopkinsguides.com/hopkins/view/Johns_Hopkins_Psychiatry_Guide/787073/6/Conversion_Disorder.
Nathan MD, Bienvenu O. Conversion Disorder. Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide. 2017. https://www.hopkinsguides.com/hopkins/view/Johns_Hopkins_Psychiatry_Guide/787073/6/Conversion_Disorder. Accessed June 2, 2023.
Nathan, M. D., & Bienvenu, O. (2017). Conversion Disorder. In Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide https://www.hopkinsguides.com/hopkins/view/Johns_Hopkins_Psychiatry_Guide/787073/6/Conversion_Disorder
Nathan MD, Bienvenu O. Conversion Disorder [Internet]. In: Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide. ; 2017. [cited 2023 June 02]. Available from: https://www.hopkinsguides.com/hopkins/view/Johns_Hopkins_Psychiatry_Guide/787073/6/Conversion_Disorder.
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TY - ELEC T1 - Conversion Disorder ID - 787073 A1 - Nathan,Margo ,M.D. AU - Bienvenu,O. Joseph,M.D., Ph.D. Y1 - 2017/05/02/ BT - Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide UR - https://www.hopkinsguides.com/hopkins/view/Johns_Hopkins_Psychiatry_Guide/787073/6/Conversion_Disorder DB - Johns Hopkins Guides DP - Unbound Medicine ER -