Mental Health: Factitious Disorders

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What Is the Outlook for People with Factitious Disorders?

People with factitious disorders are at risk for health problems (or even death) associated with hurting themselves or otherwise causing symptoms. In addition, they may suffer from reactions or health problems related to multiple tests, procedures, and treatments; and are at high risk for substance abuse and attempts at suicide. A complication of factitious disorder by proxy is the abuse and potential death of the victims.

Because many people with factitious disorders deny they are faking symptoms and will not seek or follow treatment, recovery is dependent on a doctor or loved one identifying or suspecting the condition in the person and encouraging them to receive proper medical care for their disorder and stick with it.

Some people with factitious disorders suffer one or two brief episodes of symptoms and then get better. In most cases, however, the factitious disorder is a chronic, or long-term, condition that can be very difficult to treat.

Can Factitious Disorders Be Prevented?

There is no known way to prevent factitious disorders.

WebMD Medical Reference


Mayo Clinic: "Munchausen syndrome."

Medscape: "Factitious Disorder." "Factitious Disorders."

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on May 31, 2012

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