Munson Health
Factitious Disorder

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by McCoy K

(Munchausen Syndrome)



A factitious disorder is a mental illness in which a person makes up an illness or injury. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) identifies four types of factitious disorders:
A factitious disorder may be confused with another type of mental disorder called somatoform disorder. If a person has somatoform disorder, then he or she is not pretending to be sick. The person really believes that there is something physically wrong. However, the symptoms are actually due to psychological issues. Hypochondria is an example of a somatoform disorder. Someone who has hypochondria fears that a real or imagined minor physical symptom is a sign of serious illness.
A factitious disorder is also different from malingering. Malingering occurs when a person is pretending to be sick for some kind of clear benefit, such as money, food, or housing.
Receiving Medical Treatment
Man gurney physician
People with factitious disorder seek unnecessary medical treatment.
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Risk Factors

These risk factors increase your chance of factitious disorder:


American Psychological Association

American Psychiatric Association



Canadian Psychiatric Association

Canadian Psychological Association



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Purcell TB. Factitious disorders and malingering. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby; 2006.

Somatoform disorders. Available at: Updated February 2010. Accessed December 31, 2012.

Somatoform disorders. Merck website. Available at: Updated June 2008. Accessed December 31, 2012.


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