Factitious Disorders

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) describes Factitious Disorders as being characterized by physical and/or psychological symptoms that are intentionally produced or made up in order to assume a role as a sick individual. This motivation to be sick or need help is not due to any external incentives, such as economic gain or avoiding legal responsibility.

The psychological or physical symptoms involved in Factitious Disorders can include: subjective complaints such as abdominal pain; falsification of objective signs such as holding up the thermometer to the light to create the illusion of fever; self-inflicted conditions such as hurting oneself, exaggeration or exacerbation of pre-existing medical conditions; or any combination of these complaints.

Patients with Factitious Disorders usually present their history with dramatics and flair, but end up becoming vague and inconsistent about the details. Patients with Factitious Disorders may be incredibly knowledgeable in medical terminology and procedures. Once medical personnel have deduced that the chief complaints of the patient is false, the patient often times complains of other symptoms and problems.

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