Chris Guyer Allison Loynd Rob Klever
Sam Lee Scott Ottolini Brian Kern
Marjan Siadat Julie Nguyen Maria Pak
Devon Moore Dave Mishkin
Richard Gordon Brian McMichael
The answer is B.
The diagnosis of conversion disorder is made by fulfilling the following five criteria:
• A symptom is expressed as a change or loss of physical function
• Recent psychological stressor or conflict
• The patient unconsciously produces the symptom
• The symptom cannot be explained by any known organic etiology
• The symptom is not limited to pain or sexual dysfunction
Conversions disorders generally involve neurologic or orthopedic manifestations. The disorder usually presents as a single symptom with a sudden onset related to a severe stress. In this case, the stress is the diagnosis of terminal cancer in the patient’s father. Classic symptoms of conversion disorder include paralysis, aphonia, seizures, coordination disturbances, blindness, tunnel vision, and numbness. The diagnosis cannot be made until all possible organic etiologies are ruled out. Treatment involves identifying the stressor and addressing the issue.
Click here for the latest review article on conversion disorder, published in the May 2008 edition of Current Opinion in Psychiatry.
(a) Somatization disorder involves patients with many complaints with no organic cause. (c) Hypochondriasis involves the preoccupation of serious illness despite appropriate medical evaluation and reassurance. (d) Retinal detachment can cause unilateral vision loss and generally presents with progressively worsening vision loss with patients complaining of “floaters.” (e) Anxiety disorders involve excessive fear and apprehension that dominates the psychological life of a person.
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