Conversion Disorder: Background information when reading Complicit

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Complicit

by Stephanie Kuehn

Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2014, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2016, 256 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Tomp

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Conversion Disorder

Print Review

Jamie Henry, the narrator of Complicit is given many diagnoses and explanations for the physiological symptoms he fights on a daily basis. At one point he is told that he has Conversion Disorder which seems to explain many of his troubles, including the paralysis of his hands when facing a stressful situation.

Conversion Disorder is a type of Somatoform Disorder — a mental illness where an individual reveals psychological stress in physical ways. (For related information about Somatization, please refer to Beyond the Book for One Doctor). There is a wide range of severity and frequency within this diagnosis. The symptom could be as simple as a stomach ache or as complex and limiting as complete paralysis. There is no clear physiological explanation for the symptoms and they cannot be controlled or stopped on demand. The physiological response is often directly related to the experience. For example, an individual who was unable to warn someone of impending danger may lose his/her voice. Or a bad fall may cause patients to feel pain or paralysis in the leg despite the fact there was no actual injury. There have even been instances of a woman developing all the symptoms of pregnancy following the loss of a child.

Generally symptoms of Conversion Disorder affect either motion or any of the five senses. Symptoms related to motion include weakness of a specific body part, abnormal movement, loss of balance, episodes of non-responsiveness, or seizures. The senses may be impacted by experiencing strange smells, a loss of taste, blindness or hearing loss. Historically, Conversion Disorder was also called Hysteria.

In 2011, several teen girls from LeRoy, New York, exhibited a Tourette-like condition with tics and verbal outbursts. After ruling out possibilities such as reactions to an environmental contamination, vaccine, or a disease, doctors identified the problem as mass Conversion Disorder.

Although Conversion Disorder is almost always caused by a traumatic experience, individuals may be more at risk for developing this type of response if they have other emotional disorders such as depression, mood disorder, or anxiety. A history of child abuse or neglect may significantly impact its development.

Article by Sarah Tomp

This article was originally published in July 2014, and has been updated for the March 2016 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Ghachar Ghochar
    by Vivek Shanbhag
    The Bengaluru (aka Bangalore) that has dominated economic news headlines over the past decade is the...
  • Book Jacket: Caught in the Revolution
    Caught in the Revolution
    by Helen Rappaport
    So taken were BookBrowse's First Impression reviewers by the inside look at the start of the Russian...
  • Book Jacket: Hillbilly Elegy
    Hillbilly Elegy
    by J.D. Vance
    In this illuminating memoir, Vance recounts his trajectory from growing up a "hillbilly" in ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Atomic Weight of Love
by Elizabeth J. Church

In the spirit of The Aviator's Wife, this resonant debut spans from World War II through the Vietnam War.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Our Short History
    by Lauren Grodstein

    Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it's stronger, than before.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Mercies in Disguise
    by Gina Kolata

    A story of hope, a family's genetic destiny, and the science that rescued them.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

You can lead a man to Congress, but you can't make him think.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

O My D B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -