Factitious disorders in neurology: an analysis of reported cases

Psychosomatics. 2010 Jan-Feb;51(1):47-54. doi: 10.1176/appi.psy.51.1.47.


Background: Factitious disorder (FD) is the deliberate production or simulation of symptoms in order to adopt the sick role.

Objective: The authors look at FD in the neurology setting.

Method: The authors examined documented, published cases.

Results: FD cases in neurology are strikingly different from those in other specialties in terms of their demographics. Whereas the paradigm of FD in medicine as a whole is of the socially stable female healthcare worker, neurology continues to report largely the classic itinerant "Munchausen's" type.

Discussion: The authors explore two possible explanations for this: either that female healthcare workers with FD do not present neurologically, or that, if they do, they are diagnosed with conversion disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Conversion Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Conversion Disorder / epidemiology
  • Conversion Disorder / psychology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Munchausen Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Munchausen Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Munchausen Syndrome* / psychology
  • Neurology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Nurses / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Sick Role
  • Young Adult