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Non-transient childhood conversion disorder is uncommon in the UK and Ireland, but use of services is high

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Question: What is the incidence of non-transient childhood conversion disorder in the UK and Ireland, and what are the 1-year outcomes for this population?

Population: General population of children aged below 16 years.

Setting: UK and Ireland; 1 October 2008–31 December 2009.

Assessment: Active prospective surveillance was carried out by monthly mailing of all consultant paediatricians (n=2874; response rate 93%) and child and adolescent psychiatrists (n=728; response rate 66.2%) in the UK and Ireland. This utilised two mailing registers: British Paediatric Surveillance Unit (BPSU) and the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Surveillance System (CAPSS). Clinicians were asked to report any new cases of conversion disorder, and complete a questionnaire about the child. Two consultant child and adolescent psychiatrists and a consultant paediatrician reviewed the questionnaires and arrived at a consensus on whether Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV) criteria for conversion disorder were met. Cases were excluded if symptoms had been present for <7 days, or were better explained by an …

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  • Sources of funding: BUPA Foundation.


  • Competing interests None.

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