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Factitious Disorders 

Individuals with factitious disorders seek to play the sick patient role by feigning physical or psychological symptoms. This behavior is not typically motivated by a desire to reap any economic benefit or ensure better care. The symptoms produced may be predominantly psychological, predominantly physical, or a combination of both.

  • Munchausen Syndrome is an example of a chronic factitious disorder with physical symptoms that may be totally fabricated, self-inflicted, or an exaggeration of a preexisting physical condition. The individual with Munchausen Syndrome spends much time and energy seeking admission to or staying in hospitals where he or she eagerly solicits invasive procedures.
  • Ganser Syndrome is a factitious disorder in which a patient feigns psychological symptoms such as dementia or psychosis for no apparent gain, except to be a patient.
  • Factitious Disorder by Proxy is when a caregiver, typically a mother, deliberately produces symptoms, falsifies medical records, or tampers with laboratory tests in order to make her child appear sick. The motivation for her behavior is to receive attention for having a sick child.

Books on Factitious Disorders

American Psychiatric Publishing (APPI), a division of American Psychiatric Association, publishes books that offer practical guidance and recommendations for clinicians treating patients who feign illness in themselves or others.

Somatoform and Factitious Disorders

Somatoform and Factitious Disorders offers a broad and scholarly synthesis of the current knowledge—and controversies—about somatoform and factitious disorders, including somatization disorder, hypochondriasis, body dysmorphic disorder,conversion disorder and Munchausen syndrome.


The Spectrum of Factitious Disorders The Spectrum of Factitious Disorders covers innovative techniques for treating patients who feign or induce illness—in themselves or others—to accrue the intangible benefits of the “sick” role, stressing the need to treat them with acceptance and understanding.

View a complete list of publications related to factitious disorders.