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Conversion Disorder vs Munchausen Syndrome

By March 24, 2012 - 2:13pm

Is there a difference between conversion disorder and munchausen syndrome? I am living with someone who is showing all the signs of munchausen syndrome, at least according to websites such as WebMD. I am at a loss as to how to handle it.


By HERWriter Guide April 1, 2012 - 2:44pm

Hi Wishful!

Thanks for your post!

What a great question. Yes, there are big differences between these two conditions.

A person with conversion disorder has a very real psychological condition that is caused by an extremely traumatic event like a rape, murder, abuse, terrible accident or sudden death. While there can be no physical reason found for their condition (that can be anything from paralysis to sudden muteness), it is based on a psycological reaction to deep trauma. The person is not 'faking' their symptoms.

Munchausan's Syndrome is where a person is knowingly faking their symptoms for attention, profit, or other gain. Unlike a person with Conversion Disorder, they know what they are doing and are well-versed in how to fake doctors, co-workers and family. There is always something to gain for them by this pretense - anything from money, to time-off work and generally, being the center of attention is a huge payoff for them.

Can you tell us which you think fits your friend's actions? Diagnosing a person needs to be done by a professional but let us know what you think is going on with your friend.



April 1, 2012 - 2:44pm

Group Leader

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Conversion Disorder is a very frightening neurological disorder where people have real symptoms of physical illness/conditions but don't actually have the illness/condition itself. This disorder occurs after a person has undergone a very traumatic event including a violent attack or rape, a serious accident, abuse, death or other serious occurrence. The body mimics real symptoms such as an inability to speak, paralysis or even blindness. If you or someone you know is living with Conversion Disorder, this group is the place to come for information guidance and lots of support. Please join us and help each other out with this greatly misunderstood condition.


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