Somatoform disorders are difficult to diagnosis and often present as a neurological illness in pediatric populations. Conversion disorder is the somatoform disorder most commonly seen in children, particularly adolescents, who have anxiety related to sexual behaviors and orientation. In a transgender patient, the risk of conversion disorder is even higher. The patient described in this article presented with multiple neurological symptoms that disappeared after she began presenting herself as a male. There is a significant need for research into somatoform disorders as well as research into the transgender population.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Laura Orfanelli, MSN CRNP, at 302/651-5797 or Lorfanel@nemours.org. She is a pediatric nurse practitioner at the A. I. DuPont Hospital for Children, Division of Neurology, in Wilmington, DE.
Winslow J. Borkowski Jr., MD, is the attending pediatric neurologist at the A. I. DuPont Hospital for Children, Division of Neurology, in Wilmington, DE.
© 2006 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses