Teen Conversion Disorder Treatment
Did your teen develop a sudden disabling symptom without any real trigger or cause? Did your teen have some sort of sensory shutdown, experience sudden blindness, or become paralyzed, yet doctors cannot find a cause? Teens who have sudden physical symptoms without a known cause or injury may be experiencing Conversion Disorder, a condition that comes on after traumatic events like abuse. The stress from a serious event can cause your teen to develop neurological symptoms with no medical cause.
What Does Teen Conversion Disorder Look Like?
- Conversion Disorder symptoms may manifest as seizures, trouble with posture, sensory issues, abnormal movements, or an inability to control movements.
- Conversion Disorder symptoms not only impact movement, but can cause a teen to have double vision, become completely blind, or experience deafness. They may also have trouble swallowing or lose the ability to speak.
- Sometimes teen Conversion Disorder is temporary, but in some cases it becomes a chronic condition. The disorder occurs in brief episodes, so treatment can help a teen learn to cope.
Signs of Teen Conversion Disorder
Shaking or trembling
Loss of muscle strength
Hearing problems or deafness
Causes of Teen Conversion Disorder
Trauma - Trauma is the most common cause of a teen Conversion Disorder. Stress and trauma often lead teens to develop symptoms we categorize as psychosomatic. The reasons why a teen develops this disorder vary and are often unique to the individual. This makes the cause difficult to pinpoint.
Neurological Issues - Teens who already have a neurological disorders are at a higher risk of developing Conversion Disorder. These include chronic migraine disorders, seizure disorders, and epilepsy.
Genetics - Genetics play a role in many medical conditions. While genetics increase the risk of developing Conversion Disorder, they aren’t a stand-alone cause for the development of the condition. Teens with family histories of this and other neurological issues are more likely to develop Conversion Disorder after a trauma than those without a family history.
of patients in the hospital have at least one symptom of CD.
of all hospital patients have been officially diagnosed with CD.
of neurological cases in hospital are diagnosed with CD.
How Can I Help My Teen with Conversion Disorder?
Take Symptoms Seriously - Even though you know the symptoms are psychosomatic, you should never attempt to delegitimize the way your teen feels. No matter how it looks to you, what your teen is experiencing is very real to them. There is nothing you can (or even should) do to try to convince your teen that it’s in their head. Do encourage your teen to talk to a doctor to rule out any underlying physical causes.
Discuss the Possibility of Recovery - The majority of teens with Conversion Disorder make a full recovery. It is a very treatable condition, even if it progresses to the point where it is considered chronic. Ongoing professional support will give your teen the tools they need to cope with symptoms whenever they arise.
Encourage Treatment - the longer your teen ignores their symptoms, the worse and more chronic they will get. Talk to your teen about how they feel and find out if they are worried about their symptoms. Most teens will have a desire to figure out what is going on. Sometimes they just need to know you’re in their corner, willing to help, before they’ll ask to see a doctor.
What Types of Teen Conversion Disorder Treatment Are Available?
You should always start with a physician so that any true physical causes can be ruled out. After you’re sure there is no physical cause, you can move on to working with a therapist to determine if Conversion Disorder is the appropriate diagnosis.
Medication is often used to treat the symptoms of anxiety and depression that come along with the disorder. Antidepressants are the least risky choice and can help to alleviate some of the side effects so that your teen can focus on therapy. There are medications that can treat a true neurological disorder, but this approach is very different from the approach for treating Conversion Disorders specifically. In rare cases, teens may be treated for both.
A therapist will work with your teen to help them understand the causes of their symptoms. They’ll work together to figure out what trauma led to the development of the condition. The sooner your teen realizes their symptoms aren’t caused by a physical disorder, the better.
A lot of teens struggle to understand why or how a trauma can cause the symptoms they’re experiencing. It’s important they know they are not “making up” their symptoms and that they are not part of their imagination. Your teen’s therapist will help them to understand how the mind can manifest physical symptoms.
Uncovering the initial trauma will help your teen’s therapist better understand what stress triggers bring on their symptoms. They’ll work on healthy ways to cope with stress and will look at ways to live a healthier lifestyle in general. Your teen may find breathing exercises, meditation, and other activities very helpful.
We often find that a combination of talk and alternative therapies is effective in treating a Conversion Disorder. Teens have responded well to physical therapy, speech therapy, and even hypnotherapy. Stress reduction methods help teens learn to control the symptoms of stress they experience. This leads to lower levels of anxiety and depression and in many cases can complete Conversion Disorder symptoms.
Teens who have trouble with speech or swallowing may find speech therapy to be helpful. Hypnosis is also a great tool for helping teens get over the traumatic event that caused their initial symptoms.
Teen Conversion Disorder Treatment at Paradigm San Francisco
Teen conversion disorder treatment plans are tailored to the needs of each person. The mind has a huge hold over the body, so it’s important for a therapist to get to know your teen and what stress or trauma factors caused their symptoms to develop.
We pride ourselves on taking a holistic approach to therapy. We’ll help your teen learn to cope with their symptoms while at the same time working to figure out what triggers their episodes. Working together, we can often help a teen figure out what life changes they need to make to avoid complications in the future.
Your teen will be surrounded by experts throughout their stay at Paradigm San Francisco. Each works hard to welcome your teen and make them feel comfortable while exploring their symptoms. The teenage years aren’t easy; everyone here is sensitive to that. A break from home and school life can give your teen the space they need to better understand their condition while also ensuring they have the space to heal. Residential treatment offers teens an excellent opportunity to explore other stress and mental health issues.
Surrounded by Nature
All of our Paradigm San Francisco locations are surrounded by nature. During their stay, your teen will have special access to intensive treatment programs and living quarters set in a gorgeous, relaxing atmosphere. We give teens plenty of space to try new hobbies and enjoy the great outdoors. Teens who have time to have some fun often find themselves better able to express themselves on an emotional level in therapy.
Teens who can explore their own talents often stumble on abilities they didn’t even know they had. This type of discover is often a bright light during a difficult time of life. Spending time in nature is also great for reducing the general symptoms of anxiety and depression that often come with Conversion Disorder.
“ This place literally saved my life. The staff is incredibly dedicated and loving. They were extremely supportive and welcoming of me. Thank you so much for all you have done for me. “
– Katrine R.
Frequently Asked Questions About Teen Conversion Disorder
What are my teen’s odds of recovery?
Prognosis is actually excellent. Most teens make a full recovery as they learn to cope with the original trauma and future stresses. We know Conversion Disorders seem frightening, but they are easier to deal with once you understand how somatic disorders cause physical symptoms. The sooner your teen begins addressing the initial trauma, the sooner they’ll be on the path to recovery.
To be clear, the symptoms someone with Conversion Disorder experiences are very real and can be even more terrifying to someone who knows they have no real physical cause. Teens who seek teen conversaion disorder treatment are often capable of leading completely normal lives.
What makes a symptom psychosomatic instead of physical?
Your body’s central nervous system controls everything about your body. Injury to the central nervous system can cause very severe and often permanent injuries, resulting in major alterations to a person’s quality of life and permanent disabilities.
No one really understands why the brain can also sometimes alter the central nervous system to the point where we lose motor function or a sense. Scientists are still struggling to understand how stress can trick the mind into causing a physical symptom to manifest.
The trouble with Conversion Disorder is that there can be a series of contributing physical causes for the same symptoms. This is why it is important to rule out viruses, bacterial infections, and other diseases. Furthermore, sometimes the underlying physical symptom isn’t immediately apparent. Doctors do not yet understand why some people develop Conversion Disorders while others continue to live normal lives.
The more we study the human body, the more we learn about mental health issues and how to treat them. In the meantime, we’ve come a long way in learning how to treat conditions like Conversion Disorder and can, in many cases, successfully eliminate the symptoms.