Conversion disorder and/or functional neurological disorder: How neurological explanations affect ideas of self, agency, and accountability

Jonna Brenninkmeijer*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

3 Citaten (Scopus)
102 Downloads (Pure)

Samenvatting

An estimated 15% of patients seen by neurologists have neurological symptoms, such as paralysis, tremors, dystonia, or seizures, that cannot be medically explained. For a long time, such patients were diagnosed as having conversion disorder (CD) and referred to psychiatrists, but for the last two decades or so, neurologists have started to pay more serious attention to this patient group. Instead of maintaining the commonly used label of conversion disorder – which refers to Freud’s idea that traumatic events can be converted into deviant behaviour – these neurologists use the term functional neurological disorder (FND) and explain that the problems are due to abnormal central nervous system functioning. The situation that some patients with medically unexplained neurological symptoms are diagnosed with CD and treated by psychiatrists while others are diagnosed with FND and stay under the control of neurologists provides a unique case for analysing how neurological and psychological explanations affect subjectivity. In this article, I compare patient reports from English-language websites from the past 15 years to find out how minds, bodies, brains, and selves act and interact in the accounts of both patient groups. I conclude that the change in label from CD to FND has not only influenced ideas of medically unexplained disorders, but also affected ideas of the self and the body; of self-control and accountability.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)64-84
Aantal pagina's21
TijdschriftHistory of the Human Sciences
Volume33
Nummer van het tijdschrift5
DOI's
StatusPublished - 1-dec.-2020

Citeer dit