Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to start by first seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. Generally, if a clear diagnosis can't be made by your family doctor, you'll be referred to a neurologist or psychiatrist. In some cases both a neurologist and a psychiatrist are needed to rule out an underlying neurological condition and to verify that it is indeed conversion disorder — and not another psychological condition.
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, as well as what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions ahead of time will help you make the most of your time together. Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What treatment approach do you recommend in my case?
- If you're recommending medications, are there any possible side effects?
- For how long will I need to be treated?
- What can I do to reduce the risk of my symptoms recurring?
- Should I see a specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover seeing a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may preserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- What are your symptoms?
- When did you first notice these symptoms?
- How have your symptoms changed over time?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Have you recently experienced significant stress or trauma?
- Have you been diagnosed with any other medical conditions, including mental health problems?
- Have any of your close relatives been diagnosed with mental health problems?
- Do you use alcohol or recreational drugs? How often?
- Conversion disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Nov. 3, 2010.
- Yutzy SH, et al. Conversion disorder. Skodol AE, et al. Specific personality disorders. In: Hales RE, et al. The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2008. http://www.psychiatryonline.com/resourceToc.aspx?resourceID=5. Accessed Nov. 3, 2010.
- Compton K. Conversion disorder. In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011. St. Louis, Mo.: Mosby; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?sid=1078203392&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..00012-3--sc0215&isbn=978-0-323-05610-6&type=bookPage§ionEid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..00012-3--sc0215&uniqId=225194068-16. Accessed Nov. 3, 2010.
- Chastan N, et al. Psychogenic paralysis and recovery after motor cortex transcranial magnetic stimulation. Movement Disorders. 2010;25:1501.
- Conversion disorder. In: Gabbard GO, ed. Textbook of Psychotherapeutic Treatments. 4th ed.Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2009. http://www.psychiatryonline.com/resourceToc.aspx?resourceID=31. Accessed Nov. 3, 2010.
- Hall-Flavin DF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 3, 2010.