Conversion disorder is a term used when your child has physical symptoms that seem to be caused by problems in the nervous system, but which are not caused by a physical disease or disorder of your child’s brain, spine, or nerves. Your child’s symptoms may keep him from going to school or doing everyday activities.
It may also be called functional neurological disorder.
The exact cause of this disorder is not known. Often the symptoms start suddenly after a physically or emotionally stressful experience. For example, sudden blindness after seeing a terrible accident, even though there is nothing wrong with your child’s eyes or the part of the brain that controls vision. It is thought that the brain may process emotions in a different way, so that instead of expressing extreme fear or anger, your child may have symptoms in his body. The symptoms are real, and not something that your child does on purpose.
Conversion disorder is most common in children over 10 years old. The risk is greater if your child:
The symptoms start suddenly. Symptoms may include:
Your child's healthcare provider will ask about the child's symptoms, medical and family history, and any medicines your child is taking. Your provider will check for a medical illness or drug or alcohol problem that could cause the symptoms. Your child may have tests or scans to check for other possible causes of the symptoms.
Sometimes conversion disorder gets better without treatment. If symptoms are serious or last longer than a few days, treatment may include therapy, medicine, or both.
Stay in touch with teachers, babysitters, and other people who care for your child to share information about symptoms your child may be having.
Ask your child if they are feeling suicidal or have done anything to hurt themselves. Get emergency care if your child has ideas of suicide or harming others or themselves.
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