Conversion Disorder and Social Security Disability

Conversion disorder is a mental illness that causes neurological symptoms, such as paralysis or hearing loss. It is one of several conditions that fall under the category of somatoform disorders. People with a somatoform disorder have physical symptoms with no underlying physical cause. They are not faking their physical symptoms and stress can often make their symptoms worse.

Causes and Symptoms

Conversion disorder usually starts with an emotional crisis such as a scary or traumatic event. A car accident without physical injury might result in blindness, even though there was no actual injury to the eye or optic nerve. It can affect anyone of any age, including children. A child who is bullied may respond by losing the ability to walk.


Therapy and stress management are typically used to treat conversion disorder. There is no medication to treat conversion disorder. A person who has been affected by conversion disorder may have one or more additional mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety. Medication for those disorders may help control the symptoms. The earlier treatment starts, the better chance there is of a positive outcome.

Social Security Disability for Conversion Disorder

If the symptoms are severe enough, an individual’s ability to work on a full-time basis may be compromised. There are many factors that Social Security will look at when considering a claim involving conversion disorder. One of the most important is the severity of the symptoms and how the person responds ongoing mental health treatment. The severity of symptoms is considered in terms of how they affect a person’s ability to perform daily activities, including the ability to concentrate, deal with the public and handle personal interactions.

If you or someone you know is in treatment for conversion disorder or another somatoform disorder and is unable to continue working, we may be able to help. Pleasecontact us.