SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Conversion disorder symptoms usually appear suddenly after a stressful event. Common symptoms can include:
- Poor coordination or balance
- Paralysis in an arm or leg
- Difficulty swallowing or "a lump in the throat"
- Inability to speak
- Vision problems, including double vision and blindness
- Seizures or convulsions
Other conversion disorder symptoms include:
- Loss of balance
- Numbness or loss of the touch sensation
- Inability to feel pain
- Difficulty with walking
- Urinary retention
When to see a doctor
It's best to seek medical attention as soon as you notice symptoms that might be caused by conversion disorder. If the underlying cause of your signs and symptoms 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.
- 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.