As per the GOI circular on price capping of Orthopaedic Knee implant by NPPA(National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority), new prices of knee implants have been implemented effective 16th August 2017. For details on knee implant pricing across our hospitals. CLICK HERE | As per GOI’s circular dated 02nd April 2018 on price-capping of stents by NPPA(National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority), new prices of coronary stents are revised with effect from 01st April, 2018. For details on stent pricing.CLICK HERE
Request an Appointment

Conversion disorder

Conversion disorder, also called functional neurological symptom disorder, is a condition in which you show psychological stress in physical ways. The condition was so named to describe a health problem that starts as a mental or emotional crisis — a scary or stressful incident of some kind — and converts to a physical problem.

For example, in conversion disorder, your leg may become paralyzed after you fall from a horse, even though you weren't physically injured. Conversion disorder signs and symptoms appear with no underlying physical cause, and you can't control them.

Signs and symptoms of conversion disorder typically affect your movement or your senses, such as the ability to walk, swallow, see or hear. Conversion disorder symptoms can vary in severity and may come and go or be persistent. The outcome may be better in younger children than in teenagers and adults. According to some experts, most people get better with immediate and proper management.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

Conversion disorder symptoms may appear suddenly after a stressful event or trauma, whether physical or psychological. Signs and symptoms that affect movement function may include:

  • Weakness or paralysis
  • Abnormal movement, such as tremors or difficulty walking
  • Loss of balance
  • Difficulty swallowing or "a lump in the throat"
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Episode of unresponsiveness

Signs and symptoms that affect the senses may include:

  • Numbness or loss of the touch sensation
  • Speech problems, such as inability to speak or slurred speech
  • Vision problems, such as double vision or blindness
  • Hearing problems or deafness

When to see a doctor

It's best to seek medical attention as soon as you notice signs and symptoms that might be caused by conversion disorder. If the underlying cause is something physical, quick diagnosis and treatment may be important. If the diagnosis is conversion disorder, then psychological help may improve the symptoms and prevent future episodes.

Episodes of conversion disorder are nearly always triggered by a stressful event, an emotional conflict or another mental health disorder, such as depression.

The exact cause of conversion disorder is unknown, but the part of the brain that controls your muscles and senses may be involved. It may be the brain's way of reacting immediately to something that seems like a threat.

Conversion disorder risk factors include:

  • Recent significant stress or emotional trauma
  • Being female — women are much more likely to develop conversion disorder
  • Having a mental health condition, such as mood or anxiety disorders, dissociative disorder or certain personality disorders
  • Having a neurological disease that causes similar symptoms, such as epilepsy
  • Having a family member with conversion disorder
  • A history of physical or sexual abuse and neglect in childhood

In some cases, particularly if not treated soon enough, conversion disorder symptoms can result in substantial disability, similar to that caused by medical conditions.

Conversion disorder is usually triggered by a reaction to some kind of stress or trauma. Stress-relieving activities such as meditation and yoga may help reduce reactions to the events that prompt symptoms of conversion disorder. In general, however, the best way to prevent this is to strive for and maintain a good quality of life, a stable family environment, social contacts and work-life balance.

If you have other mental health conditions, make sure you're getting the right treatment. Treatment may include counseling and medications.

© 1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of use