The direct cause of conversion disorder is usually experiencing a very stressful or traumatic event. The disorder can be considered the way someone copes, or as a psychological expression of the event. Depression and other psychological disorders are commonly seen in patients with conversion disorder.
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Conversion disorder may affect people at any age. While some studies have suggested that conversion disorder occurs more frequently in women, it can affect both men and women. Conversion disorders occur more commonly in rural areas, among individuals with fewer years of education and of lower socioeconomic status.
Everyone who develops conversion disorder was exposed to a traumatic event. However, there are other factors that may increase the likelihood of developing the disorder, including:
- A previous history of personality or psychological disease
- Physical or sexual abuse, particularly in children
- Family members with either conversion disorder or chronic illness
- Co-existing psychiatric conditions such as depression or anxiety
- Co-existing personality disorders, such as histrionic, passive-dependent, or passive-aggressive personality disorder
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