Factitious Disorder

1 What is Factitious Disorder?

Factitious disorder is a mental condition that makes someone to fake being sick to get attention from other people.

The person usually harms him/herself to produce symptoms of sickness.

This can include ingesting feces to produce abscesses. Manchaussen syndroem is a severe type of factitious disorder that occurs in women. It is usually caused by personality disorders.

Factitious disorder is a serious condition and is usually hard to treat.

Serious injury and death can be prevented by offering people who have factitious disorder medical and psychological help.

2 Symptoms

Symptoms of factitious disorder usually involve producing or imitating symptoms of ilnesses or injury. Individuals affected usually go to extreme lengths to cover up their actions.

This is what makes it difficult to diagnose factitious disorder. Sometimes individuals affected can harm other people.

This severe form of factitious disorder is called Manchausen syndrome. Manchausen syndrome usually causes parents, mostly women, to fake the sickness of a child.

This type of factitious disorder is very serious since it can harm the child or even lead to the death of the child and is therefore, a form of child abuse.

The signs and symptoms of factitious disorder include:

  • Frequent hospitalizations
  • Incosistent symptoms
  • Conditions that worsen for no reason
  • Eagerness to have frequent testing and risky operations
  • Extensive knowledge of medical terms and diseeases
  • Arguing with medical personnel
  • Frequent requests for medications such as pain killers

3 Causes

Although the exact cause of factitious disorder is not known, many believe it is caused by a personality disorder.

It mostly affects people who have been physically or mentally abused in the the past.

4 Treatment

Treatment for factitious disorder focuses on managing the condition since there is no known cure.

There is no standard therapy for factitious disorder especially since people who are affected rarely seek medical attention.

This usually includes psychotherapy, behaviour counselling and occasionally family therapy.

Medications are usually given to treat mental disorders associated with personality disorders.

In sever cases patients can be admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

5 Prevention

There is currently no effective way to prevent the development of factitious disorder since the exact cause is not known.

However, early diagnosis and treatment can help doctors to avoid the complications of factitious disorder.

6 Lifestyle and Coping

The following can help people in coping with factitious disorder:

  • Sticking to treatment plans suggested by your doctor
  • Joining support groups as these help one to not feel alone

7 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with factitious disorder.

The following risk factors are associated with factitious disorder include:

  • Trauma during childhood
  • Serious illnesses in childhood
  • Low self-esteem
  • Loss of a loved one due to an illness and personality disorders

Complications of factitious disorder include:

  • Self inflicted injury which can lead to loss of limbs
  • Unnecessary surgical procedures to correct the damage done
  • Poor social life and even in death
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