Factitious disorder imposed on self refers to the psychiatric condition in which patients deliberately produce or falsify symptoms and/or signs of illness for the principal purpose of assuming the sick role. A factitious disorder is a condition in which a person acts as if they have an illness by deliberately producing, feigning, or exaggerating symptoms. Factitious disorder imposed on another is a condition in which a person deliberately produces, feigns, or exaggerates symptoms in a person in their care.
Factitious disorder symptoms may include clever and convincing medical problems, frequent hospitalizations, vague or inconsistent symptoms, conditions that get worse for no apparent reason, conditions that don't respond as expected to standard therapies, eagerness to have frequent testing or risky operations etc.
Factitious disorder should be distinguished from somatic symptom disorder (formerly called somatization disorder), in which the patient is truly experiencing the symptoms and has no intention to deceive. In conversion disorder (previously called hysteria), a neurological deficit appears with no organic cause. The patient, again, is truly experiencing the symptoms and signs and has no intention to deceive. The differential also includes body dysmorphic disorder and pain disorder. No true psychiatric medications are prescribed for factitious disorder. However, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help manage underlying problems. Medicines such as SSRIs that are used to treat mood disorders can be used to treat FD, as a mood disorder may be the underlying cause of FD.
Many people with factitious disorders also suffer from other mental conditions, particularly personality disorders. People with personality disorders have long-standing patterns of thinking and acting that differ from what society considers usual or normal.