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
- Factitious disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Jan. 10, 2014.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2014: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 8, 2013.
- Lipsitt DR. Factitious disorder and Munchausen syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 10, 2014.
- Flaherty EG, et al. Caregiver-fabricated illness in a child: A manifestation of child maltreatment. Pediatrics. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/08/20/peds.2013-2045. Accessed Jan. 19, 2014.
- Munchausen syndrome. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric_disorders/somatoform_and_factitious_disorders/munchausen_syndrome.html. Accessed Jan. 19, 2014.
- Bright RP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Ariz. Feb. 16, 2014.
- Hall-Flavin DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 20, 2014.
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