TopicLive Free From the Fear of Insanity
Factitious disorders are similar to another group of mental disorders called somatoform Brain Plus disorders, which also involve the presence of symptoms that are not due to actual physical or mental illnesses. The main difference between the two groups of disorders is that people with somatoform disorders do not fake symptoms or mislead others about their symptoms on purpose. Factitious disorder, also known as Munchausen syndrome, is an extreme condition that defines patients who intentionally produce or feign symptoms or disabilities, either physical or psychological.
Patients with factitious disorders repeatedly present with symptoms that have no organic basis. According to the DSMIV Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders diagnostic criteria, the motivation for the behavior is to assume the sick role. External incentives for the behavior should be absent for the correct diagnosis.[1,6] Since most patients have been employed in the health care professions, they generally have a somewhat reasonable medical history, but discrepancies are detectable upon careful evaluation.
The exact cause of factitious disorders is not known, but researchers are looking at the roles of biological and psychological factors in the development of these disorders. Some theories suggest that a history of abuse or neglect as a child, or a history of frequent illnesses that required hospitalization might be factors in the development of the disorder.