Conversion Disorder and Somatisation Disorder

What is the difference between conversion disorder and somatisation disorder?

Conversion disorder is characterized by one or more symptoms affecting voluntary motor/sensory function that suggests a neurological or other medical condition, for example, seizure, sudden blindness, sudden inability to walk, etc. The complaint or symptom is fairly well localized.

Somatisation disorder is similar but much broader and is more generalized in the sense that, somatic complaints arise in different areas of the body. There is usually a long history of multiple complaints, and there are physical complaints occurring over a period of several years. For a diagnosis of somatization disorder, the patient must have 4 pain symptoms: 2 gastrointestinal symptoms, 1 sexual symptom, and 1 pseudo-neurological symptom; the symptoms either cannot be fully explained by medical condition or they are in excess of what is expected.

Conversion disorder consists of one or more symptoms affecting voluntary motor or sensory function. Psychological factors are judged to be associated with symptoms because the symptoms are preceded by a stressor. The symptoms are not intentionally produced, cannot be fully explained by medical condition, and cause significant distress or impairment.

Some Psychologists believe that conversion disorder is a sub-type of somatization, so there are many similarities but fine differences between the two.

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