Risk factors

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Several factors may increase the risk of developing factitious disorder, including:

  • Childhood trauma, such as emotional, physical or sexual abuse
  • A serious illness during childhood
  • A relative with a serious illness
  • A poor sense of identity or self-esteem
  • Loss of a loved one through death, illness or abandonment early in life
  • Unfulfilled desire to be a doctor or other health professional
  • Work in the health care field
  • Personality disorders

Factitious disorder is considered rare, but it's not known how many people have the disorder. Some people use fake names to avoid detection, some visit many different hospitals and doctors, and some are never found out — all of which make it difficult to make a reliable estimate.

May 02, 2014