Symptoms – Conversion Disorder
The symptoms of conversion disorder may vary from person to person. The onset of this disorder begins after a person has suffered some sort of mental trauma. Extreme fright, for example, may cause a person to be unable to speak for a certain amount of time. Seeing something that is horrifying may lead to temporary blindness.
Pains in the body, paralysis, seizures, and deafness may all occur when suffering from conversion disorder. Any symptoms experienced by a person with conversion disorder cannot be controlled and others who witness the occurrence may believe that the affected individual is faking the illness.
Doctors may be unable to find anything wrong within the body that is causing the symptoms that a patient with conversion disorder is experiencing. All testing that is performed on the affected individual may not show any problems and may be unable to be explained or understood by the doctor performing the tests.
According to NYU Langone Medical Center, there are several risk factors that may lead to a person becoming stricken with conversion disorder. Those who are affected by this disorder must have experienced some sort of trauma when the signs of the disorder begin. However, there are several factors that can make a person more likely to experience this unexplained behavior.
Females are more likely to be stricken with conversion disorder. Children and young adults are also more at risk for conversion disorder. A person who has been physically or sexually abused may be more likely to experience this disorder.
Those who suffer from other mental disorders or have a family history of things such as depression or anxiety are also more at risk than others. The NYU Langone Medical Center also states that those who have had an episode of conversion disorder before are much more likely to experience it again in the future.
It is important to seek the advice of a doctor if any physical symptoms occur after a traumatic or stressful event. Although there are no specific tests that are run for conversion disorder, a doctor can speak with their patient to find out what caused the symptoms and go forth with proper treatment to alleviate the symptoms that he or she is experiencing.
Even though medical doctors are unable to find the reason that conversion disorder brings about physical symptoms, there are still treatment options available for those who suffer from this disorder.
In many cases, physical symptoms disappear on their own with time without any type of medical intervention or treatment. Other times, however, patients who have this disorder may find that they need a course of action implemented by their doctor to help them recover.
Counseling is one of the best therapies to help a patient recover from conversion disorder. By talking through the traumatic event with a counselor, the patient can get over the stress that was caused by the event, helping to ease and eliminate the physical symptoms that he or she is experiencing.
Since the odds are higher for future episodes in those who have suffered from conversion disorder in the past, it is important for a patient to continue with their therapy even after physical symptoms have disappeared to help prevent the likelihood of a reoccurrence.
Medications commonly prescribed for other mental disorders such as depression may also be a treatment option for many patients. These medications can help relieve physical symptoms more quickly.
Although this course of treatment is effective in eliminating or lessening physical symptoms, it does not help prevent future occurrences. Therefore, it is important for anyone who has been stricken with conversion disorder to speak with a counselor or psychiatrist to get to the root of the problem that is causing the symptoms.
Those who suffer from more severe symptoms, such as paralysis, may also need to enlist the help of a physical therapist to help relieve the symptoms that they are experiencing. Muscle soreness, tightness, or being unable to move a part of the body may require the expertise of a physical therapist to help a patient feel normal again.
Physical symptoms associated with conversion disorder typically disappear on their own or with the help of a therapist in hours, days, or weeks. The disorder is not life threatening, but physical symptoms, especially the more extreme symptoms, may be inconvenient and can affect a person’s life.
In addition to the physical symptoms, it is also important for a person to speak with a counselor or with their doctor to get behind the cause of the onset of the disorder. An especially traumatic and stressful event may cause a more severe disorder to set in, such as depression. This is why it is important to seek help as soon as symptoms of conversion disorder occur so that an effective treatment plan can be implemented right away.
If you or a loved one have experienced a stressful or traumatic event and have physical symptoms that show up after the experience, it is important to seek the help of a doctor right away. Even though the symptoms may disappear without treatment and are not life threatening, it is important to be seen to rule out any other causes for the symptoms that you are experiencing.