Conversion Disorders Manifest Due to Psychological Conflicts
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Conversion Disorders Manifest Due to Psychological Conflicts

There are many manifestations of conversion disorders. Conversion disorders display physical symptoms caused by stress, but there is no physical reason for the symptoms. I have a couple of manifestations of conversion. Sometimes I can’t talk due to terrible stuttering, but other times I can’t talk because I don’t have the language skills to communicate. When this conversion takes place, I don’t have the words in my mind to speak. It passes after a few minutes of deep breathing to calm myself. My conversion disorder is related to anxiety.

Conversion disorders usually affect the senses or movement. There are some people who cannot see, yet nothing is wrong with their eyes. They see, but when they become anxious they cannot see.  They are not making up their symptoms; the symptoms are real for them, though there is no physical cause. Conversion disorders can manifest as blindness, deafness, paralysis, pain and they may also manifest as other neurological symptoms.

Conversion disorders are real. An individual who manifests conversion cannot turn it on and off whenever he or she wants to. In other words, it is a real illness and it causes a great deal of distress. Individuals most likely to manifest conversion symptoms are those with personality disorders. An individual with dissociative identity disorder, borderline personality disorder or fractured identity disorder is more likely to manifest conversion symptoms than someone who doesn’t have an existing mental disorder. Conversion disorders are most commonly experienced by women. In the old days conversion was called hysteria, because it always seemed to occur in women. It can occur in men, but it is quite rare for men to have conversion symptoms.

What causes conversion disorders?

It is believed that people who have conversion symptoms also have a psychological conflict within them. A person who fears saying what she feels may develop conversion of speech. The dynamics of the family unit may have something to do with how a person manifests conversion symptoms.

A person who had a car accident, and wasn’t permanently injured, may experience back pain which prevents her from getting behind the wheel again. A person who gets angry and feels like hitting someone might suffer from paralysis. A person who falls from a horse may suffer from paralysis of a leg even though the person was not physically hurt. The symptoms occur suddenly. Conversion symptoms may last only a few minutes or they could last for weeks at a time.

My experience

My conversion imitates possible stroke symptoms. When it first happened, my tongue would get paralyzed and I couldn’t speak. I was hospitalized when my symptoms first occurred. I had all of the usual tests to rule out a stroke. My brain was fine. It was just a conversion reaction to stress and anxiety. Many people suffer from conversion, whether they know it or not.

My conversion symptoms come on suddenly. I can be talking on the phone and then suddenly I start stammering. There are other times that I forget how to speak. There are three ways my conversion can manifest. Whoever I am talking to usually knows what is happening and will either wait for the symptoms to subside or hang up and talk to me later. I’m not anxious at the time; at least I don’t feel anxious. It’s something I have to live with. It used to be scary, but now that I know it’s not a stroke, it’s just frustrating. I’m not scared anymore.


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Comments (3)
Ranked #2 in Psychology

excellent Charlene, this is a truly perplexing mental condition

Thanks Carol. 

Ranked #17 in Psychology

Psychology is a very extensive science, both you and Carol is educating me on this powerful subject matter, thank you ladies.