Quatrini Rafferty, P.C.

MIND OVER MATTER: THE MYSTERY OF A CONVERSION REACTION

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Kristen walked up to the window (which separated employees from visitors) to greet a man who just walked into the magistrate's office. Quickly she realized that he was not there to conduct business. She saw a flash of what looked like a weapon. Simultaneously, Kristen was verbally assaulted with menacing words. Eventually, the man left. Kristen reported the event and was interviewed by county detectives. The encounter left her very frightened, but untouched. That was Friday. Kristen came back to work Monday; however, as she started her shift on Tuesday, she started to talk with a slur, and started to decompensate. The right side of her face drooped noticeably. She could remember nothing from the time the man walked out of the office until Monday morning. It was somehow erased from her memory bank. Did she suffer a stroke? Extensive testing ruled out a stroke and, for that matter, any physical malady.

So, what happened? How do you explain her obvious physical changes - her inability to cope - the menacing man could not even touch her through the glass partition?

Mind over matter. The mind is a powerful force. So, when that powerful force turns against your body, it can have devastating consequences. The medical community calls this phenomenon a "Conversion Disorder" or "Functional Neurologic Disorder" - a newer and broader term that includes what some people called Conversion Disorder - which features nervous system (neurological) symptoms that can't be explained by a neurological disease or other medical condition. However, the symptoms are real and cause significant distress as well as problems functioning.

The happy ending to this saga is that after 15 months of regular psychotherapy with a psychologist, Kristen is back! Her memory is intact, her facial paralysis has resolved, her fatigue and other debilitating symptoms are gone, and she is back at her old job.

We filed a Workers' Compensation claim for Kristen. We were successful getting Kristen's medical bills paid through Workers' Compensation and we recovered her lost wages for the period of time she was out of work.

The morale of the story: Look beyond the obvious. When someone you know is genuine, believe in them. And, if you need legal help, call on our law firm. As the commercial jingle goes, "we know a thing or two, because we've seen a thing or two."

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