Other Names for this Disease
- Functional movement disorder
- Functional neurological disorder
Your QuestionI was diagnosed with conversion disorder 10 years ago and still walk with an aid and have trouble with my balance. How is this condition treated? What is the prognosis for individuals with this condition?
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Questions on this page
For many people, symptoms of conversion disorder get better without treatment, especially after reassurance that their symptoms aren't caused by a serious underlying problem.
Individuals with severe symptoms, signs and symptoms that linger or keep coming back, or individuals with other mental or physical health conditions may benefit from treatment. The specific type of treatment depends on the particular signs and symptoms and may include:
- Counseling (psychotherapy)
- Physical therapy
- Treatment of related stress and other conditions
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation
Symptoms usually last for days to weeks and may suddenly go away. Usually the symptom itself is not life threatening, but complications can be debilitating.
For most people, symptoms of conversion disorder get better with nothing more than reassurance that they don't have a serious health problem. However, up to one in four people may show new conversion symptoms later on. Individuals may be more likely to have long-lasting symptoms or develop new conversion disorder symptoms if:
- They delay seeking treatment
- Their symptoms aren't clearly linked to stress
- Their symptoms come on slowly, or don't improve quickly
- They have more-serious psychiatric conditions along with conversion disorder
- They have tremors or seizures not caused by epilepsy
Some individuals with on-going symptoms may actually have a different diagnosis. Approximately 25% are diagnosed with a neurological disease in 10-year follow-up studies that could account for the presenting symptoms. Ongoing symptoms should be discussed with your physician who can help to determine if your symptoms can be attributed to another underlying illness.
- Conversion disorder. MayoClinic.com. 2009; http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/conversion-disorder/DS00877/DSECTION=all&METHOD=print. Accessed 9/20/2010.
- Conversion disorder. MedlinePlus. 2008; http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000954.htm. Accessed 9/20/2010.
- Marshall SA, Landau ME, Carroll CG, Schwieters B. Conversion disorder. eMedicine. 2008; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/287464-overview. Accessed 9/20/2010.
- Conversion disorder. Intelihealth. 2008; http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtPrint/WSIHW000/8271/25759/349402.html?d=dmtHealthAZ&hide=t&k=basePrint. Accessed 9/20/2010.