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The uncontrollable urge, turned into obsession, to assume the role of a sick person. It is what is called factitious disorder, a disorder that also includes Munchausen syndrome (one of the most severe types), and which in medical terms is defined as the pretending or intentional production of physical or psychological symptoms.

factitious disorder

The objective is to assume the role of a sick person, without there being any other external motivation. It is not a disorder easy to diagnose for various reasons. On the one hand, the person may come to believe that he really suffers from the symptoms that recounts and the physical signs can self-harm; and secondly, the presence of these factitious symptoms does not mean that there is a real disorder. In fact, factitious disorder is related to personality disorders.




Psychological and physical symptoms
People with factitious disorders often go to the doctor with physical problems such as fever, self-inflicted infections, anemia, and delay in the healing of wounds, complaints of abdominal pain, vomiting, skin lesions, and diarrhea. In many cases often tend to have multiple previous hospitalizations, and do not hesitate to done all kinds of medical tests.

In addition to physicists, may appear psychological evidence, such as depression, hallucinations or bizarre behavior. Another common trait of people with this disorder is to tell their story so dramatic and exaggerated, but it is vague and inconsistent in their responses when asked more detailed questions about symptoms.

The uncontrolled tendency to lie, once the results of medical tests are negative it will take to produce other factitious symptoms and complain about other annoyances. The visit to doctors and hospitals can become recurrent, and when it is confirmed that their real problem is a factitious disorder their first reaction will be to deny it and look for another medical center in which its presence has not been detected by factitious symptomatology.

Factitious disorder should not be confused with hypochondria, since in this case the person is manifesting excessive worry about having a serious disease based on its own interpretation that has made the symptoms that they have. The person with factitious disorder pretends not only the disease but it is moved by an uncontrollable impulse.