Dissociative and conversion disorders: defining boundaries

Mohan Isaac, P.K. Chand

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose of review Although dissociative disorders have been described and diagnosed for some time, their aetiology, pathogenesis, phenomenology and management continues to arouse debate. It is only in recent times that researchers have made some progress by integrating trauma related theories with more contemporary cognitive theories and neurobiology. Recent findings Dissociation as a phenomenon is reported to occur in a variety of disorders. This widespread occurrence has contributed to a better understanding of dissociation. An expansion of this concept may have contributed to the loss of its original significance.Recent studies in the field of dissociation that pertain to its aetiology, pathophysiology, neurobiology and management are critically reviewed.Summary Dissociative disorder is conceptually a difficult disorder to study. Apart from exposure to trauma, certain primary personality attributes may contribute to the propensity to develop dissociative disorder. Recent advances in functional neuroimaging facilitated by enhanced knowledge in the neural representation of body state have helped to improve our understanding of dissociation. There is confusion over the use of various terms such as sexual abuse and physical abuse in explaining causality. Current classificatory systems have not been found suitable when applied across cultures. In spite of all of these limitations, there has been recent progress toward a better understanding of dissociative disorders.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61-66
    JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychiatry
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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