Conversion disorder is characterized by the occurrence of certain signs or symptoms that are clearly inconsistent with what is known about anatomy and pathophysiology. For example, the patient may complain of blindness, yet cortical visual evoked potentials are normal. Or a patient may complain of complete anesthesia of the left upper extremity and go on to describe the boundary of the anesthesia as being a clear-cut line encircling the elbow.
Other common complaints include hemiplegia, deafness, and seizures. On close inspection the specific symptomatology in each case corresponds with the patient’s particular conception of how an illness might manifest itself. Continue reading