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Factitious disorders

A group of disorders in which a patients symptoms copy those of a real illness but which have been made-up by, and are under control of, the patient. There is no clear cause other than a desire for attention; the wish to assume the role of a patient could be an escape from daily life in order to be protected and cared for.

The most commonly seen disorder of this type is Muchausen’s syndrome, which is characterised by physical symptoms.

The patient can aggravate existing physical issues or even inflict self injury. In Ganser’s syndrome, symptoms are psychological ones. Factious disorders differ from malingering, in which a person’s maintains that they are ill for an actual purpose or reason. For example, in order to take time off work.

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