Treating Conversion Disorders: Is a Pediatric Rehabilitation Hospital the Place?

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

A conversion disorder is a psychiatric disorder with a physical manifestation. Symptoms affect voluntary motor or sensory function and are suggestive of a neurological or other medical condition, but are inconsistent with known neurological or musculoskeletal presentations. Conversion disorders are more common in adolescents than either children or adults. Historically, they have been treated in mental health settings. However, recent work has suggested that rehabilitation units may provide a more effective treatment milieu. This article includes a case study documenting the efficacy of treatment for an adolescent with a functional gait disturbance. Focus of the discussion is on the needs of the patient, requirements of the rehabilitation psychologist, and conflictual relationships between the provider of care and third-party payer for treatment interventions.

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