Pharmacy Clinical Pearl of the Day: Factitious Disorder

Factitious disorder is not the same as inventing medical problems for practical benefit, such as getting out of work or winning a lawsuit.

Clinical Pearl of the Day: Factitious Disorder

Factitious disorder is a serious mental condition in which someone deceives others by appearing sick, by purposely getting sick or by self-injury.

Insight:

  • Factitious disorder also can happen when family members or caregivers falsely present others, such as children, as being ill, injured, or impaired.
  • Factitious disorder symptoms may range from mild to severe.
  • The person may make up symptoms or even tamper with medical tests to convince others that treatment, such as high-risk surgery, is needed.
  • Factitious disorder is not the same as inventing medical problems for practical benefit, such as getting out of work or winning a lawsuit.
  • Symptoms may include extensive knowledge of medical terms and diseases, vague or inconsistent symptoms, seeking treatment from many physicians, reluctance to allow physicians to talk to family or friends, and frequently staying in the hospital.
  • Risk factors include childhood trauma, loss of a loved one, past experiences during a time of sickness, personality disorder, and depression.
  • Diagnosis includes identifying the symptoms and mental evaluation.
  • Treatment includes psychotherapy, non-judgmental approach, medications, and possible hospitalization for further treatments and evaluations.

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