While the relationship between conversion disorder and substance use is still unclear, some studies suggest that these conditions co-occur more often than previously believed.

Conversion disorder is a psychological condition. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a person with conversion disorder shows symptoms of a physical impairment that a medical exam cannot explain. Many symptoms are related to the nervous system and may include blindness, numbness and the inability to walk.

Substance abuse occurs along with many mental health disorders, including conversion disorder. Unfortunately, there is little information known about the connection between conversion disorder and substance abuse. However, some studies show a correlation between the two conditions.

Effects of Drug Use on Conversion Disorder

The effects of drug use are on conversion disorder are not known. However, a report from the journal Psychosomatic Medicine shared one interesting finding. The report stated results from a German population study that showed a meaningful connection between both conditions. For people ages 14–24, substance dependence was associated with conversion disorder.

Conversion disorder is a type of somatoform disorder, a broad category of mental health disorders that involve physical ailments with no medical explanation. The same report found that somatoform disorders had meaningful associations with substance use disorders.

More studies still need to be conducted to establish a clear link between substance use and conversion disorder. However, the results of this study suggest that there may be a connection between the two conditions.

Related Topic: Somatic symptom disorder treatment

Does Conversion Disorder Lead to Addiction?

It is not known if conversion disorder can lead to an addiction. Very little research has been done about co-occurring conversion disorder and substance use disorders. However, a person with an untreated psychological condition — like conversion disorder — may be at a higher risk for unhealthy drug or alcohol use.

Treating Conversion Disorder with Co-Occurring Substance Abuse

While not common, conversion disorder and substance abuse may occur together for some people. Mental health professionals recommend seeking treatment for both disorders at the same time.  

If you or someone you know have co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, you can take the first step toward treatment today. Substance use disorder and conversion disorder treatments are available. Call today to speak to a representative at The Recovery Village about care for co-occurring mental health conditions and addiction.

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Editor – Megan Hull
Megan Hull is a content specialist who edits, writes and ideates content to help people find recovery. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Erika Krull, LMHP
Erika Krull has a master’s degree in mental health counseling and has been a freelance writer since 2006. Read more

Hasin, D., Katz, H. “Somatoform and substance use disorders.” Psychosomatic Medicine, 2007. Accessed March 31, 2019.

Medline Plus. “Conversion disorder.” Accessed March 31, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.