Conversion Disorder: Types, Causes, Symptoms, And Effective Treatment Options


Conversion disorder, commonly observed in children, especially girls, can lead to seizures or mental outbursts. This condition disrupts the harmony between mental health and physical activities, impacting a child’s overall well-being.

Something that these kids suffer more than their underlying condition is getting blamed for “acting” or “seeking attention.” however, it’s important to know that this is a serious mental condition, and the child is lying about it. Anyway, if you are keen to know everything about conversion disorder, make sure you are reading further, as here you’ll learn everything about it.

Classifying Conversion Disorder

When it comes to classification or types of conversion disorder, there are traditionally four of them. However, recently, hysteria has been made an official type of CD by the US Psychiatric Glossary. Usually, a child suffers from one of these types, but in some cases, they can have mixed and severe symptoms of all the types.

Classifying Conversion Disorder

Take a look at all the types of conversion disorder:

1. Affected Voluntary Movement

When a child has conversion disorder, there is a high chance that he/she is going to have motor-disrupting symptoms. This type of conversion disorder primarily affects the frontal lobes of the brain, which is the largest of all four lobes in the human brain. As functions of the frontal lobe get disrupted, the child’s ability to move, speak, and behave also gets affected.

2. Disrupted Vision

When a child is affected by this type of conversion disorder, the brain’s parietal lobe gets affected the most. The Parietal lobe of your brain is responsible for sensory functions like smell, hearing, and touch. Sensory disruption from CD can lower the child’s capability to smell, touch, feel, or even their vision.

3. Pseudo Types

A child with pseudo-seizures will have non-epileptic seizures, which are mostly triggered randomly, even with their thoughts. The main reason for their seizures is post-traumatic history of child or sexual abuse. Another thing you should remember about this condition is that seizures can come randomly or even with small distress, so make sure you are being cautious with your touch and speech.

4. Mixed Symptoms

When a person or child has mixed symptoms of conversion disorder, it can cause all of the symptoms mentioned above. Moreover, this condition is caused due to severe trauma or poor mental health of the person for a long time. 

What Causes A Person’s Conversion Disorder?

When it comes to identifying major causes for a person’s conversion disorder in medical terms, it’s important to know that there is no neurological pathology in a person with this condition. Not being able to prove their medical conditions medically affects their social life as well. 

When it comes to the actual reasons behind this disorder in a person, a past history of sexual or childhood abuse is one of the main reasons. Additionally, there is a chance of developing conversion disorder when you have faced recent trauma or injury that has given you distress, depression, or anxiety.

Symptoms And Indications Of CD

A person with conversion disorder can have various types of symptoms, from seizures to sensory disruptions. However, there have been some cases when the affected person has been diagnosed with a mixed type of conversion disorder. This type can cause most of the symptoms of this disorder and interfere with their life significantly.

  • Getting PNES: PNES or Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizure is one of the common symptoms of a person with conversion disorder. It can cause sudden motor dysfunction and collapse, which can even lead to paralysis if not controlled in time.
  • Possible Sensory Disruptions: sensory disruptions are caused due to the affected region in your brain called the parietal lobe, which is responsible for your senses. These disruptions can cause you to lose vision, sense of smell, or touch.
  • Going in a state of Hysteria: having hysteria can cause disrupted muscular function and amnesia and can even interrupt normal sexual activities. When you have this type of conversion disorder, it can cause spasms, muscle twitches, and paralysis in worst-case scenarios.

Having this disorder can disrupt your living style, work, and family life, so make sure you are not neglecting a person’s seizures or behavioral issues. Another thing that is commonly seen in people with this disorder is that they worry about their symptoms and outbursts a lot, which can trigger their condition even more.

Treatments And Therapies For Conversion Disorder

When a person has a conversion disorder and has severe symptoms like seizures, sensory interruptions, and behavioral issues, it is essential to get treatment and therapies to control the effects. If you have a certain someone with this condition, make sure you are helping them with these effective remedies:

The Best Choice Will Be CBT

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective psychotherapies for all types of conversion disorders. When you are getting CBT, the main focus is on your behavioral and anxiety patterns to give you control over your thoughts. Getting CBT treatment can affect your lifestyle while improving your mental health along with diminished outbursts of your symptoms.

Taking Prescribed Medications Can Help

Medications only might not be effective in treating your conversion disorder, but they can ease your mind and thought process effectively. Doctors prescribe medications like tricyclic antidepressants and haloperidol. Both of these drugs are highly effective in calming your nerves and can provide relief from outbursts and panic attacks.

Read More: What Is Dementia? Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

The Bottom Line

When a person suffers from conversion disorder, the hardest thing for them is controlling their thoughts and autonomous physical effects like spasms and twitches. It’s important to be aware that people with this condition do not fake their symptoms; they are actually affected by a psychogenic disorder. Make sure you are treating the affected person with the right behavior and support, as it will help them with their motivation and treatment.


  1. Stephenson CP, Baguley IJ. Functional neurological symptom disorder (conversion disorder): A role for microglial-based plasticity mechanisms? Med Hypotheses. 2018 Feb;111:41-48. [PubMed]
  2. Ali S, Jabeen S, Pate RJ, Shahid M, Chinala S, Nathani M, Shah R. Conversion Disorder- Mind versus Body: A Review. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2015 May-Jun;12(5-6):27-33. [PMC free article]

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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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