Table 4

Neurologists' views on communication in conversion disorder and feigning

N (%)
Which model do you use to explain conversion disorder, if patients ask?
 Effects of stress on the nervous system119 (34)
 Subconscious behaviour94 (27)
 Disorder of brain function45 (13)
 Mind over matter12 (4)
 I can't explain it10 (3)
 Other (or several of the above)67 (19)
Do you refer to psychological factors when explaining your diagnosis in conversion patients—if they seem open to it?
 Always203 (58)
 Usually130 (38)
 Rarely14 (4)
 Never0 (0)
 If they seem resistant?
  Always86 (25)
  Usually200 (58)
  Rarely51 (15)
  Never5 (2)
Do you talk about feigning with patients—if you suspect it?
 Always6 (2)
 Usually54 (16)
 Rarely151 (44)
 Never133 (39)
 If you're sure of it?
  Always39 (12)
  Usually69 (20)
  Rarely137 (41)
  Never91 (27)
Who should address feigning in your patient?*
 Me158 (51)
 The GP64 (21)
 A psychiatrist87 (28)
 The police or some other agency49 (16)
 No-one39 (13)
Does giving the diagnosis of conversion seem easier now than for those who trained you?
 Yes168 (51)
 No163 (49)
Do you copy letters about your conversion patients to them?
 I prefer to175 (53)
 I prefer not to154 (47)
Do you use ‘codes’ or euphemisms in those letters?
 Always11 (3)
 Usually101 (31)
 Rarely149 (45)
 Never69 (21)
What do you hope the GP will understand by your codes?*
 That the patient has a conversion disorder155 (45)
 That their problem is psychological156 (45)
 That there is nothing really wrong with them23 (7)
 Other17 (5)
  • Percentages are of those answering the question rounded to the nearest whole number.

  • * Scored allowing multiple selections.

  • GP, general practitioner (primary care physician).