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Somatization and Convension Disorder

Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie (Impact Factor: 2.41). 04/2004; 49(3):172-8.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Somatization is the psychological mechanism whereby psychological distress is expressed in the form of physical symptoms. The psychological distress in somatization is most commonly caused by a mood disorder that threatens mental stability. Conversion disorder occurs when the somatic presentation involves any aspect of the central nervous system over which voluntary control is exercised. Conversion reactions represent fixed ideas about neurologic malfunction that are consciously enacted, resulting in psychogenic neurologic deficits. Treatment is complex and lengthy; it includes recovery of neurologic function aided by narcoanalysis and identification and treatment of the primary psychiatric disorder, usually a mood disorder.

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    • "Malingering is the intentional amplification of cognitive and/or emotional symptoms for secondary gain. Conversion disorders, however, are the result of unintentional symptom amplification for psychological reasons (Hurwitz, 2004). Since neither condition is the result of an organic impairment (Boone & Lu, 1999), a major differentiating factor is one of intentionality (Sellbom, Wygant, & Bagby, 2012). "
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    • "Moreover, we are aware of the criticism directed against the heterogeneous concept of somatoform disorders in general (Mayou et al. 2005). However, here we are based on an etiological approach towards somatoform disorders, which interprets somatoform disorders as a patient ' s strategy to deal with emotional distress (Hurwitz, 2004; Nijenhuis et al. 2004; Waller and Scheidt 2006; Beutel et al. 2008). While our patients described a variety of different symptoms (see Table I), their unconscious emotional confl icts centered around common themes. "
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