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Case Reports in Psychiatry
Volume 2018, Article ID 5972954, 5 pages
Case Report

Prosopagnosia as a Type of Conversion Disorder

Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing, St. James’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

Correspondence should be addressed to Clodagh Power; ei.dct@lcrewop

Received 11 October 2017; Revised 27 December 2017; Accepted 18 January 2018; Published 13 February 2018

Academic Editor: Erik Jönsson

Copyright © 2018 Clodagh Power et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Conversion disorder is a common and debilitating condition that remains poorly understood. We present a previously undescribed form of conversion disorder to highlight the complexity of the condition and consider the interplay of factors that produce conversion symptoms. Case. A 50-year-old male presented with acquired prosopagnosia and language impairment. Neuropsychological testing indicated right temporal lobe dysfunction. Extensive work-up outruled an organic aetiology. Reactivation of childhood trauma coincided with the onset of his symptoms. Childhood trauma is known to have adverse effects on the developing brain which may affect an individual’s emotional behaviour and coping style. Functional neuroimaging techniques suggest that conversion symptoms may be linked to the disruption of higher order neural circuitry involved in the integration of emotional processing and cortical functioning. Conclusions. We propose that our patient’s adverse childhood experiences led to the development of a particular personality and coping style that “primed” him for a later abnormal emotional and behavioural response when confronted with reminders of his traumatic background. Further interdisciplinary studies are required to further elucidate the neurobiological basis for this condition.