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Factitious Disorder

What is Factitious Disorder?

Factitious Disorder, also known as Munchausen Syndrome, is a severe mental health condition that involves the falsification of physical or psychological symptoms, or the intentional induction of injury or disease.

It is done for the purpose of deception, even in the absence of obvious external rewards.

Factitious Disorder may be imposed on oneself, or another person. 


The signs and symptoms of Factitious Disorder Imposed on Self may include:

  • Inconsistent and dramatic medical history.
  • Reluctance on the patient's part for the healthcare team to obtain corroborative information from family and friends.
  • Symptoms that repeatedly worsen after they have improved or resolved.
  • The repeated appearance of new or positive symptoms after negative test results.
In addition to those above, the signs and symptoms of Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another may include:
  • Frequent switching of doctors, initiated by the caregiver.
  • Repeated inconsistent reports of signs and symptoms between a vulnerable patient and the caregiver, suggestive of systematic misrepresentation or fabrication by the caregiver.
  • Repeated suspicions that test results have been fabricated.
  • The suspicions that harm has been deliberately inflicted upon the patient, through actions such as suffocating or poisoning.
When the victim is a vulnerable person, this constitutes child or elder abuse. The perpetrator receives the diagnosis of Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another.
  • Family therapy to resolve underlying family conflicts, and improve communication across parties.
  • Individual psychotherapy to uncover and resolve unconscious thoughts and motivations or identify unhelpful beliefs and expectations that may be maintaining or worsening the condition.
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