Update on factitious disorders

Int J Psychiatry Med. 1993;23(1):81-94. doi: 10.2190/BM5G-GQ1D-JJE1-5H1E.


Objective: Since factitious disorders entered the official psychiatric nomenclature in DSM-III and DSM-III-R, there has been a proliferation of reports and commentary about this unusual disorder. We present an update of the recent literature.

Method: The psychiatric and medical literature was searched. Clinical reports and critical/theoretical papers were reviewed; eighty-five are summarized here.

Results: Available data is descriptive and anecdotal. Reports focus on the following four topics, which are discussed here: 1) diagnostic issues, 2) the newly proposed DSM-IV category of factitious disorder by proxy, 3) epidemiology and course, 4) new developments in treatment and management.

Conclusions: Factitious disorders are uncommon but serious illnesses that present diagnostic and management dilemmas. Deriving systematic information about these illnesses is a major challenge.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Factitious Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Factitious Disorders / psychology
  • Humans
  • Munchausen Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Munchausen Syndrome / psychology
  • Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy / diagnosis
  • Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy / psychology
  • Sick Role
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Somatoform Disorders / psychology