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Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another

By

Joel E. Dimsdale

, MD, University of California, San Diego

Last full review/revision Oct 2020| Content last modified Oct 2020
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION

Factitious disorder imposed on another is falsifying or producing symptoms of a physical or psychologic disorder in another person. It is usually done by caregivers (typically parents) to someone in their care.

This disorder used to be called factitious disorder by proxy or Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

Factitious disorder imposed on another is similar to factitious disorder imposed on self Factitious Disorder Imposed on Self Factitious disorder is pretending to have or producing physical or psychologic symptoms for no apparent external reason. The cause is unknown, but stress and a severe personality disorder may... read more , except that people (usually caregivers, typically a parent) intentionally falsify or produce physical or psychologic symptoms in a person in their care (usually a child who is unable to contradict the caregiver's falsehoods or tell how the caregiver caused injury).

The caregiver falsifies history—for example, by stating that children have been having fevers or vomiting at home when they actually have been well. Some caregivers may even injure the child with drugs or other agents or add blood or bacterial contaminants to urine specimens to simulate disease. The caregiver seeks medical care for the child and appears to be deeply concerned and protective. The child typically has a history of frequent hospitalizations, usually for a variety of nonspecific symptoms, but no firm diagnosis was made. Such children may be seriously ill and sometimes die because of the caregiver's attempts to simulate an illness.

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Dissociative Fugue
In dissociative fugue, people lose some or all of their memories from the past, and they usually leave their environments, such as their family or job. Dissociative fugue is often mistaken for malingering (faking physical or psychologic symptoms to obtain a benefit). Which of the following is characteristic of a person with dissociative fugue but NOT of a person malingering?
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