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 X
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

Conversion Disorder

This article relates to Complicit

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 "beyond the book article" relates to Complicit. It originally ran in July 2014 and has been updated for the March 2016 paperback edition.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. 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!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Savage Feast
    Savage Feast
    by Boris Fishman
    I adore authors who not only write about the big themes that possess them, but also drop little ...
  • Book Jacket: Lost Children Archive
    Lost Children Archive
    by Valeria Luiselli
    Lost Children Archive is a feast of language and storytelling that chronicles a family road trip ...
  • Book Jacket: The World According to Fannie Davis
    The World According to Fannie Davis
    by Bridgett M. Davis
    Devoted daughter Bridgett M. Davis was always inspired by her mother Fannie, who provided stability,...
  • Book Jacket: Territory of Light
    Territory of Light
    by Yuko Tsushima
    Set in Tokyo during the late 1970s, Yūko Tsushima's Territory of Light chronicles a year in the...

Book Club
Book Jacket
The Half-Life of Everything
by Deborah Carol Gang

A beautifully written and uplifting debut novel.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Last Romantics
    by Tara Conklin

    A sweeping yet intimate epic about one American family, and the ties that bind us together.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Sounds Like Titanic
    by Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman

    "A tricky, unnerving, consistently fascinating memoir."
    --Kirkus, starred review
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Climate Report

The Climate Report

"The most comprehensive assessment of the effects of climate change on the United States."
–The New York Times

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

B I I T Eye O T 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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.