The Dangers Of Factitious Disorders

There are a number of people who go through a lot of troubles to fake sickness or illnesses. They attempt to portray a serious medical condition by producing fake physical or psychological symptoms. Their motive of faking sickness is however not clear, unlike malingerers. Some investigations to this condition have shown that these people do not do all this so as to avoid a jail term or qualify for some monetary benefits. This is a medical condition that health professionals refer to as factitious disorder.

People with factitious disorders May:

  • Fake a number of subjective complaints, such as headaches and Stomach pains.
  • Force their bodies to have certain symptoms by doing things that will harm their bodies.
  • Intentionally exaggerate or worsen their current condition. For instance, a person with epilepsy pretending to have a severe seizure and other problems.

Many people with factitious disorders are always very creative and dramatic when asked for information about their medical history. However, if medical practitioners grill them further on their specific symptoms, they end up giving vague and inconsistent information. They may even decide to lie about their body conditions so as to convince doctors that they are really sick.

The most popular complaints are, however, associated with having pain in some body parts. As a result, patients with fictitious disorder end up receiving a lot of pain medications. If a medical examination gives negative results on their complaints, fictitious disorder patients will still complain of other issues or make up additional symptoms. These individuals may even allow more invasive or intensive workups on their bodies, including surgery.

The majority of people with this kind of medical condition are always conversant with various medical terminologies, hospital systems and routines. They gain all this knowledge through their culture of visiting hospitals over time. This comes naturally, as they are always in hospital with complaints.

If a medical practitioner realizes their real medical condition and confronts them, they end up bombarding their doctors with more lies. Fictitious disorder patients will then quickly leave the health facility or request a discharge against any advice from their doctors. The most interesting thing is that these people will not take long before they visit another hospital or doctor and continue with their acting.

It is however obvious that people with factitious disorder will end up visiting quite a number of hospitals in various states and cities. These people may also end up visiting other countries to seek treatments. It however goes without saying that individuals with factitious disorders go to great lengths to fake illnesses.

The nature of this body condition does not, however, allow an individual to have any close relationships with people or keep a job that need serious attention. These types of individuals normally disconnect themselves from their families or have very little connections, if any. Factitious disorder patients typically exude a chronic pattern of behavior, with some variations in a few instances. This type of body disorder is however more rampant among males than females.

Types and Symptoms of Factitious Disorders

There are three major types of factitious disorders as listed below. Each type is determined by its primary symptoms as displayed by a patient.

  • Factitious Disorder with Conspicuous Psychological Signs and Symptoms

This subtype has majorly mental or psychological symptoms. This condition is associated with a person trying to appear to be mentally challenged or ill. It is common for individuals suffering from this body condition to show psychotic body symptoms, mostly in the form of hallucinations. They mostly have a weird clinical presentation that does not in most cases fit into any particular diagnosis. Their feelings represent the perception of an individual in their mind, but may not resemble any particular psychiatric disorder.

In this case, individuals may use a psychoactive drug, so as to produce some types of symptoms. For instance, the patient may use some stimulants, if they want to appear to be restless or manic.

  • Factitious Disorders with Easily Seen Physical Signs and Symptoms

In this scenario, an individual fakes a physical medical condition with a goal of being hospitalized. This condition is called Munchausen Syndrome. Individuals with this subtype of factitious disorder may feign bleeding, vomiting, fever, nausea and rashes, as a result of using anticoagulants.

  • Factitious Disorder with Combined Physical and Psychological Symptoms

This sub type of Factitious Disorder shows balanced physical and psychological symptoms.

  • Unspecified Factitious Disorder

This is a factitious Disorder with symptoms that do not fit to any of the above sub types. This is often referred to as Munchausen’s Proxy or Factitious Disorder by Proxy. This condition occurs when an individual fakes some physical or mental illnesses for somebody under their protection or care. A good example is a mother faking symptoms of her children. Their major intention is to take advantage of her child’s sick role and many others.

Risk Factors

Individuals with Factitious Disorders have:

  • Some sort of important relationship with their doctors
  • Grudges against health providers or doctors
  • History of previous treatments, such as hospitalization, medical condition or Psychiatric condition in their childhood
  • Severe antisocial disorders due to personality issues, narcissistic or borderline
  • Had a job in a health care facility
  • History of unresolved conflicts with family
  • Need for attention
  • Masochism

Diagnosing Factitious Disorders

Many factitious disorders are hard to diagnose because of the amount of deceit involved. The patient has a very inconsistent health record, and does not give health care providers time to get health care inquiries about their health conditions from previous doctors or family members.

In many cases, health care providers and doctors diagnose this problem, when there is no explanation that can be given on a particular medical condition. The patient is then referred to a psychiatrist or a psychologist. It is through thorough investigation by these health care professionals that a conclusion is reached on somebody suffering from factious disorder.


Psychotherapy is the primary treatment for factitious Disorders. Medication has not been found to be effective in treating this disorder. Psychotherapy, particularly what doctors refer to as Cognitive Therapy can go a long way to assisting a patient suffering from Factitious Disorder, but only if he or she cooperates. Family Therapy has also been found to be an important procedure, mostly in educating family members about the effects of faking sickness and its effects on family and an individual’s life.

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Posted on May 22, 2023