Conversion Disorder and Dysfunctional Breathing: Serious Connections.
Conversion disorder is a condition in which a person has blindness, paralysis, or other nervous system (neurological) symptoms that cannot be explained by medical evaluation. Poor breathing often gets overlooked as the cause of this.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors:
Conversion disorder symptoms may occur because of a psychological conflict.
Agreed Symptoms usually begin suddenly after a stressful experience. Often but not always. People are more at risk for a conversion disorder if they also have a medical illness, dissociative disorder, or a personality disorder. Not true as the breathing is often the cause or reason for exacerbation of all three.
It is important to understand that patients are not making up their symptoms (malingering). Some doctors falsely believe that conversion disorder is not a real condition, and may tell patients the problem is all in their head. I hear this a lot. However, these conditions are real. They cause distress and cannot be turned on and off at will. Agreed.
The physical symptoms are thought to be an attempt to resolve the conflict the person feels inside. For example, a woman who believes it is not acceptable to have violent feelings may suddenly feel numbness in her arms after becoming so angry that she wanted to hit someone.
Instead of allowing herself to have violent thoughts about hitting someone, she may experience the physical symptom of numbness in her arms. Definitely but the syndrome often lies in the restricted breathing and when the breathing is released the symptom often goes away.
Symptoms of a conversion disorder include the loss of one or more bodily functions, such as:
- Inability to speak
- UDB see this list for dozens of possibilities
Diagnostic testing does not find any physical cause for the symptoms. That is because they have no clear procedure about how to measure breathing in a simple and dependable way.
Signs and tests
Common signs of conversion disorder include:
- A debilitating symptom that begins suddenly. Agreed but the potential was lying dormant due to the UDB
- A history of a psychological problem that gets better after the symptom appears. With breathing based CDs often do not disappear.
- A lack of concern that usually occurs with a severe symptom.
Your doctor will do a physical examination, and possibly diagnostic tests, to rule out physical causes for the symptom. Most do not consider breathing patterns
Talk therapy (psychotherapy) and stress management training may help reduce symptoms.
The affected body part or physical function will need physical or occupational therapy until the symptoms disappear. For example, paralyzed limbs must be exercised to prevent muscle wasting. Definitely but do not overlook breathing mechanics
Symptoms usually last for days to weeks and may suddenly go away. Usually the symptom itself is not life threatening, but complications can be debilitating. Absolutely debilitating up to deadly.
Calling your healthcare provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you or someone you know has symptoms of a conversion disorder. Make sure they bring this article with them.
Blais MA, Smallwood P, Groves JE, Rivas-Vazquez RA. Personality and personality disorders. In: Stern TA, Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, Biederman J, Rauch SL, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 39.
Reducing or eliminating breathing based conversion disorder