Associated Features and Disorders
Associated descriptive features and mental disorders. Individuals with conversion symptoms may show la belle indifference (i.e., a relative lack of concern about the nature or implications of the symptom) or may also present in a dramatic or histrionic fashion. Because these individuals are often suggestible, their symptoms may be modified or resolved based on external cues; however, it must be cautioned that this is not specific to Conversion Disorder and may also occur with general medical conditions. Symptoms may be more common following extreme psychosocial stress (e.g., warfare or the recent death of a significant figure). Dependency and the adoption of a sick role may be fostered in the course of treatment. Other nonconversion somatic complaints are common. Associated mental disorders include Dissociative Disorders, Major Depressive Disorder, and Histrionic, Antisocial, Borderline, and Dependent Personality Disorders.
Associated laboratory findings. No specific laboratory abnormalities are associated with Conversion Disorder. In fact, it is the absence of expected findings that suggests and supports the diagnosis of Conversion Disorder. However, laboratory findings consistent with a general medical condition do not exclude the diagnosis of Conversion Disorder, because it only requires that a symptom not be fully explained by such a condition.
Associated physical examination findings and general medical conditions. Symptoms of Conversion Disorder typically do not conform to known anatomical pathways and physiological mechanisms. Thus, expected objective signs (e.g., reflex changes) are rarely present. However, a person may develop symptoms that resemble those observed in others or in themselves (e.g., individuals with epilepsy may simulate “seizures” that resemble those they have observed in others or how their own seizures were described to them). Generally, individual conversion symptoms are self-limited and do not lead to physical changes or disabilities. Rarely, physical changes such as atrophy and contractures may occur as a result of disuse or as sequelae to diagnostic or therapeutic procedures. It is important to note, however, that conversion symptoms can occur in individuals with neurological conditions.