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- Factitious disorder with mostly psychological symptoms—For example, the person may pretend to have schizophrenia.
- Factitious disorder with mostly physical symptoms—For example, the person acts as if they have chest pain or abdominal pain. The term "Munchausen syndrome" is sometimes used to refer to this type.
- Factitious disorder with both psychological and physical symptoms.
- Factitious disorder not otherwise specified—Factitious disorder by proxy (or Munchausen syndrome by proxy) fall into this category. This involves a parent using his or her child to get needless medical attention for the child.
|Receiving Medical Treatment|
|People with factitious disorder seek unnecessary medical treatment.|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
- Having frequent illnesses early in life
- Being abused or rejected by a parent
- Identifying with someone who had an illness
- Having a personality disorder (such as sociopathy or borderline personality disorder)
- Having severe problems during childhood (such as psychiatric problems)
- Being hospitalized or institutionalized
- Having a poor sense of identity
- Having poor coping skills
- Working in the healthcare field
- Age: young or middle-aged
- A lengthy, conflicting medical history
- Vague symptoms that cannot be managed
- A illness that returns after it is controlled
- Strong knowledge of hospitals and medical terms
- Multiple surgical scars
- New symptoms that appear after test results come back negative
- A medical history at many hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices
- Blocking contact between previous and current doctors, and between doctors and family members
- Symptoms that appear only when patient is not being observed
- Demanding medical tests or procedures
- Eagerness to have medical tests or procedures
- Self-inflicted or artificial symptoms of disease
American Psychological Association http://www.apa.org
American Psychiatric Association http://www.psychiatry.org
Canadian Psychiatric Association http://www.cpa-apc.org
Canadian Psychological Association http://www.cpa.ca
Cleveland Clinic. An overview of factitious disorders. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/Factitious%5FDisorders/hic%5FAn%5FOverview%5Fof%5FFactitious%5FDisorders.aspx. Updated November 11, 2008. Accessed December 31, 2012.
Huffman JC, Stern TA. The diagnosis and treatment of Munchausen syndrome. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2003;25:358-363.
Munchausen syndrome. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://www.clevelandclinic.org/health/health-info/docs/2800/2821.asp?index=9833. Accessed December 31, 2012.
Munchausen syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated December 12, 2012. Accessed December 31, 2012.
Munchausen syndrome. Patient UK website. Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Munchausen's-Syndrome.htm. Updated September 16, 2010. Accessed December 31, 2012.
Purcell TB. Factitious disorders and malingering. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby; 2006.
Somatoform disorders. FamilyDoctor.org. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/somatoform-disorders.html. Updated February 2010. Accessed December 31, 2012.
Somatoform disorders. Merck website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/mental%5Fhealth%5Fdisorders/somatoform%5Fdisorders/overview%5Fof%5Fsomatoform%5Fdisorders.html?qt=&sc=&alt=. Updated June 2008. Accessed December 31, 2012.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 03/2013
- Update Date: 05/11/2013