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Conversion Disorders
Basic Information

Welcome to our Conversion Disorders topic center. The Conversion Disorders (technically known as the Somatoform Disorders) are a family of disorders whose defining characteristic is that they all involve physical bodily symptoms suggestive of a medical problem, in the absence of evidence of medical problems that could account such symptoms. Conversion disorders can co-occur with medical problems, but only when the medical problems are insufficient all by themselves to account for the severity of the conversion symptoms a given patient experiences.

Examples of conversion disorders include Hypocondriasis, Pain Disorder (including chronic pain), Conversion Disorder and Somatization Disorder (historically known as hysteria). Hypocondriasis involves a fear of contracting a serious illness which is experienced so deeply that the patient often misinterprets normal bodily experiences as evidence of their having a serious disease. Somatization Disorder and Conversion disorder both involve the experience of multiple sensory, digestive sexual and neurological type symptoms (such as temporary paralysis of an arm or leg, irritable bowel, or temporary blindness), with the collection of symptoms being more pronounced and longer lasting in Somatization Disorder as compared to Conversion. Pain disorder (particularly in its chronic form) involves the experience of pain sensations in the absence of an injury, or continuing on after the causal injury has healed.

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Mental Disorders