You'll likely start by seeing your primary care doctor. If your doctor can't determine a diagnosis, you may be referred to a neurologist or a psychiatrist. In some cases, both a neurologist and a psychiatrist are needed to rule out an underlying neurological condition and to verify that it's a conversion disorder or another psychological condition.
What you can do
To prepare for your appointment, make a list of:
- Any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for your appointment
- Key personal, family and social information, including any major stresses or recent life changes
- All medications, vitamins or other supplements you're taking
Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
Prepare a list of questions ahead of time to make the most of your time together. Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
- Are there other possible causes?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- If I need to take medications, what are the main side effects?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- For how long will I need to be treated?
- What can I do to reduce the risk of my symptoms recurring?
- Should I see a specialist? Will my insurance cover that?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask your doctor questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
To make the most of your time, be ready to answer questions your doctor may ask, such as:
Feb. 27, 2014
- What are your symptoms?
- When did you first notice these symptoms?
- How have your symptoms changed over time?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What do you think may be causing your symptoms?
- Have you recently experienced significant stress or trauma?
- Have you been diagnosed with any other medical conditions or mental health problems?
- Have any of your close relatives been diagnosed with mental health problems?
- Do you use alcohol or recreational drugs? How often?
- What do you think you can do for yourself in this situation?
- Conversion disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Sept. 14, 2013.
- Stone J, et al. Conversion disorder in adults: Treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 14, 2013.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2014: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 14, 2013.
- Papadakis MA, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment. 53rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://accessmedicine.com/popup.aspx?aID=13512&print=yes. Accessed Sept. 14, 2013.
- Feinstein A. Conversion disorder: advances in our understanding. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 2011;183:915.
- Alarcon RD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 11, 2013.