Some people experience symptoms that have no clear cause, such as sudden blindness or paralysis. This condition is called conversion disorder or CD, after the psychiatrist Freud's concept that internal conflict was converted into a more physical symptom to help manage anxiety. For that reason, exploration of the patient's past can often help alleviate the mysterious symptom. The process of conversion is unconscious; the conscious invention of physical symptoms is something different, known as a factitious disorder or malingering, and doctors must address this differently.


1. They can have extreme stress origins

Extreme stress can induce a conversion disorder; sometimes the condition is used in literature and film as a way for a character to carry a deep secret. This kind of stress also produces post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The sudden death of someone close or another similar loss might cause CD, as may prolonged stress the person is unable to handle consciously.

conversion disorder

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