Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Incidence and 12-Month Outcome of Non-Transient Childhood Conversion Disorder in the Uk and Ireland

  • Cornelius Ani (a1), Richard Reading (a2), Richard Lynn (a3), Simone Forlee (a4) and Elena Garralda (a5)...

Abstract

Background

Little is known about conversion disorder in childhood.

Aims

To document clinical incidence, features, management and 12-month outcome of non-transient conversion disorder in under 16-year-olds in the UK and Ireland.

Method

Surveillance through the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Surveillance System.

Results

In total, 204 cases (age range 7-15 years) were reported, giving a 12-month incidence of 1.30/100 000 (95% CI 1.11-1.52). The most common symptoms were motor weakness and abnormal movements. Presentation with multiple symptoms was the norm. Antecedent stressors were reported for 80.8%, most commonly bullying in school. Most children required in-patient admission with frequent medical investigations. Follow-up at 12 months was available for 147 children, when all conversion disorder symptoms were reported as improved. Most families (91%) accepted a nonmedical explanation of the symptoms either fully or partially.

Conclusions

Childhood conversion disorder represents an infrequent but significant clinical burden in the UK and Ireland.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Incidence and 12-Month Outcome of Non-Transient Childhood Conversion Disorder in the Uk and Ireland
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Incidence and 12-Month Outcome of Non-Transient Childhood Conversion Disorder in the Uk and Ireland
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Incidence and 12-Month Outcome of Non-Transient Childhood Conversion Disorder in the Uk and Ireland
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

Corresponding author

Cornelius Ani, Academic Unit of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Imperial College London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK. Email: c.ani@imperial.ac.uk

Footnotes

Hide All

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
1 American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th edn) (DSM-IV). APA, 1994.
2 Kozlowska, K Nunn, K Rose, D Morris, A Ouvrier, R Varghese, J Conversion disorder in Australian paediatric practice. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2007; 46: 168–75.
3 Grattan-Smith, P Fairley, M Procopis, P Clinical features of conversion disorder. Arch Dis Child 1988; 63: 408–14.
4 Pehlivanturk, B Unal, F. Conversion disorder in children and adolescents: a 4-year follow up study. J Psychosom Res 2002; 52: 187–91.
5 Verity, C Preece, M. Surveillance of rare disorders by the BPSU. Arch Dis Child 2002; 87: 269–71.
6 Lynn, R Viner, R Nicholls, D Ascertainment of early onset eating disorders: a pilot for developing a national child psychiatric surveillance system. Child Adolesc Ment Health 2012; 17: 109–12.
7 Akagi, H House, A. The clinical epidemiology of hysteria: vanishingly rare, or just vanishing? Psychol Med 2002; 32: 191–4.
8 Roelofs, K Keijsers, G Hoogduin, K Naring, G Moene, F Childhood abuse in patients with conversion disorder. Am J Psychiatry 2002; 159: 1908–13.
9 Bass, C. Conversion and dissociation disorders. In New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry (eds Gelder, M Andreasen, N Lopez-Ibor, J Geddes, J): 1011–20. Oxford University Press 2009.
10 Kotagal, P Costa, M Wyllie, E Wolgamuth, B Paroxysmal nonepileptic events in children and adolescents. Pediatrics 2002; 110: e46.
11 Hetherington, EM Parke, RD. Child Psychology: A Contemporary Viewpoint (5th edn). McGraw Hill, 2003.
12 Taylor, DC. Hysteria, play-acting and courage. Br J Psychiatry 1986; 149: 3741.
13 Garralda, E. Unexplained physical complaints. Pediatr Clin N Am 2011; 58: 803–13.
14 Sar, V Akyüz, G Kundakçi, T Kiziltan, E Dogan, O Childhood trauma, dissociation, and psychiatric comorbidity in patients with conversion disorder. Am J Psychiatry 2004; 161: 2271–6.
15 Crimlisk, H Bhatia, K Cope, H David, A Marsden, C Ron, M Slater revisited: 6 year follow up study of patients with medically unexplained motor symptoms. BMJ 1998; 316: 582–6.
16 Leslie, SA. Diagnosis and treatment of hysterical conversion reactions. Arch Dis Child 1988; 63: 506–11.
Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary materials

Ani et al. supplementary material
Supplementary Material

 PDF (71 KB)
71 KB
PDF
Supplementary materials

Ani et al. supplementary material
Supplementary Material

 PDF (46 KB)
46 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed

Incidence and 12-Month Outcome of Non-Transient Childhood Conversion Disorder in the Uk and Ireland

  • Cornelius Ani (a1), Richard Reading (a2), Richard Lynn (a3), Simone Forlee (a4) and Elena Garralda (a5)...
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *