Posted: June 23rd, 2017

Meryl, age 19, is highly dependent on her parents and fears leaving home to go away to college. Shortly before the semester starts, she complains that her legs are paralyzed and is rushed to the emergency department. When physical examination rules out a physical cause for her paralysis, the physician admits her to the psychiatric unit where she is diagnosed with conversion disorder. Meryl asks the nurse, “Why has this happened to me?” What is the nurse’s best response?

Meryl, age 19, is highly dependent on her parents and fears leaving home to go away to college. Shortly before the semester starts, she complains that her legs are paralyzed and is rushed to the emergency department. When physical examination rules out a physical cause for her paralysis, the physician admits her to the psychiatric unit where she is diagnosed with conversion disorder. Meryl asks the nurse, “Why has this happened to me?” What is the nurse’s best response?

a. “You’ve developed this paralysis so you can stay with your parents. You must deal with this conflict if you want to walk again.”
b. “It must be awful not to be able to move your legs. You may feel better if you realize the problem is psychological, not physical.”
c. “Your problem is real but there is no physical basis for it. We’ll work on what is going on in your life to find out why it’s happened.”
d. “It isn’t uncommon for someone with your personality to develop a conversion disorder during times of stress.”

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