533 Members
1363810 tn?1279225671

Somatoform, Conversion, or Functional Disorders?

Hi Everyone,
Somatoform, Conversion, and/or Functional Disorders (i.e. psychological causes of illness) are topics raised on many threads. I'm seeing many posts from forum members who say they not only found themselves in neuro limbo land, but were also unceremoniously dumped into the nebulous psych patient category. I'm not a mod for this forum, nor a long-term member of the community. I'm just one of you, an anonymous writer and fellow limbo lander with a curious streak. I'll post another thread just for discussions' sake.  --faithHGL
Albert Einstein is reported to have said, “Doctor Freud is probably the biggest kook I ever met. But he sure is fun at a party when he’s drunk.”
12 Responses
Avatar universal
dear faithHGL,

thanks for posting this.  i'll be interested to see the outcome.  just so's you know, you don't have to be a moderator or long-time member to post these kinds of queries.  we welcome this kind of input from the members of this forum.

i debated about which option to select since i was told my problem was from "stress" by some docs and labeled with a psych cause by others.

take good care,
1363810 tn?1279225671
Dear binx,
Thanks for the thanks and glad you welcome the poll. :)
I have no doubt that stress plays a role in illnesses. I'm even quite convinced that stress makes some of my symptoms worse -- in the same way that your sugar level can go up when you are under duress or that heart attacks can sometimes be related to a stressful event. Have you ever noticed that when stress is a factor in diabetes or heart disease, or ... pick an illness the focus is on managing the illness and the stress? The patient is not said to have functional diabetes, or functional ...whatever just because stress is a factor in the illness.
warm regards your way, too.
1156914 tn?1300571629
my parents tell me it's just stress which is really frustrating because they kinda just brush me off and don't support. even my GP and the ER doctor just brushed my symptoms as a panic attack. only my neuro seems to believe that this is real so i'll just hang on to him til i have a proper diagnosis. keep holding on guys, we will all get some answers soon (that's what i like to think) hope that you all keep wel
Avatar universal
I have MS, and I can get stressed from time to time and sometimes my stress times are lengthy.  At all times  of stress my condition worsens greatly, in particular fatigue....if my brain is working overtime it's like any other part of the body it becomes fatigued when overused, and brain fatigue can be much worse because it's your body's computer....if that tiers...we're in trouble because it can have an effect on many if not all parts of the body.  I didn't think for one minute that I was stressed at first......But I was putting myself under stress by worrying about what was happening to my body....the feeling of not being believed by my neuro was so traumatic!  I too have visited a psychiatrist...I was send there by my neuro. I made the assumption that my neuro thought my ill health was Hypochondriasis, because some of my symptoms could not be explained by what lesion I had on my spinal cord...this was prior to my diagnosis of MS...however  I found the three sessions very helpful indeed,  it made me realise the devastating effects stress can have on ones body.  I did some research and I decided to buy a book called CBT for dummies...oh my goodness it's brilliant.  I was admitted into ER 7 times with panic attacks.....they are caused by stress...I know this now, but before, I was convinced I was dying and that the doctors had missed something serious!  Since getting my head round the mental fatigue, I've not had one single episode of Panic attacks!  Changing the way we think does have a fantastic effect, I did it many others can too. No matter what the cause is, it can be helped by relieving stress.....that you don't think you have.  I'm rubbish at explaining myself but I hope that this helps others to come to terms with how stress can have such a detrimental effect on our physical being!...

Good luck guys, its a long hard fight, but there will be light at the end of the tunnel eventually.

428506 tn?1296557399
I was told stress.

What really upset me about it at the time is the doctor who made the suggestion that my symptoms were stress related never even took the time to ask me about my level of education, employment, home life, or any other details of my life that would likely be linked to stress.  That made it apparent to me that it was a brush-off and not a conclusion based on a serious evaluation.
1363810 tn?1279225671
I hear your frustration and share it, too. The neuro psych did something similar to me. Never asked me about academic achievements, professional accomplishments, any of my work related issues, previous IQ tests, .... He noted as a major stress factor a family issue that occurred more than a month after the big seizure (or whatever it was). I told my neuro that reading his report you would think I nearly died, had to learn to walk and talk again because I was upset over burning a batch of cookies. He never tried to really find out who I was before this thing changed me so much, so he wasn't capable to giving an accurate assessment. It really aggravates the heck out of me that I had to write him such a big check because my insurance only paid a portion of the bill. Insult upon insult. I'm really sorry that you went through this, too. How did you finally find "the right doctor?"
Avatar universal
Was told I was "homesick,"  "too stressed,"  etc.  when I moved to Europe and then became ill.  

Oh, let me see, the different diagnoses I have been given:

Hyperventilation Syndrome-I think the physician was "nuts" or on drugs.  Then she typed in my history and physicial report that I am prbably having a hard time adjusting to Europe.  What the HELL is that about?

Meniere's Disease-This physician ranted and raved I have this because I drink too much caffeine and I am stressed out and NEED TO change my life immediately; another "nutball."

Unresolved Labyrinthitis-I almost can buy this one, but UL is NOT going to cause generalized muscle twitching, numbness and tingling, etc.
Hormones-My hormones are ok except my thyroid was a little low, but normal range.  My Family Physician gave me that diagnosis.
Homesick-This physician was a NS that I saw for an abnormal MRI; he dismissed the MRI findings COMPLETELY and pulled out the psych card IMMEDIATELY.  He told me perhaps I am "homesick" for the US.  I was speechless; what can you say after that stupid statement?  A NS trying to be a Psychiatrist/Psychologist?  Give me a break!

So, the moral to this lesson is DON'T believe everything you see or hear and you don't have to accept any diagnosis.  Even if it takes a million physicians to see you, don't GIVE UP!  Get that PROPER diagnosis.  

What makes it bad is that I work in the medical field; never thought I would be in this position though.  
1363810 tn?1279225671
Hello Londres,
I am just so appalled at the treatment you have received. It makes one think that perhaps your physicians could have used a good shrink themselves, then perhaps they wouldn't have brought their own unresolved issues into the consult room. Did I say that?

Discussions like this have made me wonder why and how these things can happen. Why isn't there more accountability built into the medical field? What recourse is available to patients who have been misdiagnosed? It seems you have to die, and then your family can sue.

How do you think your experiences with trying to get properly diagnosed have impacted the care you give your patients?

all the best to you,

956292 tn?1334054869
I have not been told anything as a cause....My doc has not suggested any of the above..

Avatar universal
Well, dealing with my own illness has impacted my patient care in a positive way.  I feel I work harder to be their voice (patients) when they need it, I go above and beyond to make sure they get what I feel they truly need, I don't write them off as being "nuts" etc. because they cannot be diagnosed in minutes, I devote some of my free time to these types of websites to help people, etc.  

I cannot disagree with any of your post because it is very true.  I feel at this time the medical world is in a crisis; there seems to be very little emphasis on caring and empathy nowadays.  The accountability is dwindling; sad.  The only time patients are getting full and undivided attention is when medical professionals are hauled into court and/or threated with legal action; why should it be this way?  

On the other hand, there are those like myself and other medical professionals that really CARE about people first and that is always foremost, but our numbers are decreasing it seems.  
956292 tn?1334054869

Thak You for the care you give your patients...I can tell you it is very much appreciated..

dealing with medical proffessionals/facilities ca be tough..It's nice to know there is a provider of care that is devoted to individuals

Avatar universal
You are welcome.  Yes, it is getting tougher and tougher; been doing this for 12 years.  

I don't claim I can help everyone and that I know everything, but I share what I know and what I can.  :)
You must join this user group in order to participate in this discussion.
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.
These common ADD/ADHD myths could already be hurting your child
This article will tell you more about strength training at home, giving you some options that require little to no equipment.
In You Can Prevent a Stroke, Dr. Joshua Yamamoto and Dr. Kristin Thomas help us understand what we can do to prevent a stroke.
Smoking substitute may not provide such a healthy swap, after all.