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Conversion disorder: Prevalence

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PrevalenceEdit

In the US: True conversion reaction is rare. Predisposing factors, according to the DSM-IV, include prior physical disorders, close contact to people with real physical symptoms, and extreme psychosocial stress.

Incidence has been reported to be 15-22 cases per 100,000 people. In patients with chronic pain, incidence was 0.22%. Conversion reaction may occur more often in rural settings, where patients may be naive about medical and psychological issues. In one study, high rates were seen in Appalachian males. The disorder is observed more commonly in lower socioeconomic groups and may be more common in military personnel exposed to combat situations.

Cultural factors may play a significant role. Symptoms that might be considered a conversion disorder in the US may be a normal expression of anxiety in other cultures.

One study reports that conversion disorder accounts for 1.2-11.5% of psychiatric consultations for hospitalized medical and surgical patients.

Internationally: At the National Hospital in London, the diagnosis was made in 1% of inpatients. Iceland's incidence of conversion disorder is reported to be 15 cases per 100,000 persons. [1]

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