What is pseudo-disorder? Causes and how to recognize

Factitious Disorder is a serious and difficult to recognize mental disorder. People with this condition often perform acts of faking illness on themselves or others for no apparent purpose or motive.

What is pseudo-disorder?

Factitious disorder is a rare mental disorder of a severe degree. People with this condition often intentionally mimic physical and mental symptoms so that others believe they really have the disease. The acts of pretending to be sick are completely not for obvious purposes or motives such as winning lawsuits, manipulating other people’s psychology, taking time off work, enjoying insurance, etc.

People with pseudogout are aware of their feigned behaviors, but do not fully understand their motivations and reasons for these behaviors. Patients also tend to exaggerate their symptoms to convince those around them that they really have serious illnesses.

Pseudocytosis is a severe mental disorder that affects about 1% of the world population. However, experts say that the incidence may be higher because this disease is difficult to detect. Most patients are very knowledgeable about medicine, so they can fool everyone, including medical staff.

Pseudocytosis usually has an acute onset, with sudden and dramatic onset of symptoms. Some patients only have 1 to 3 exacerbations, but most have a persistent progression, a tendency to persist and require lifelong treatment. Pseudopathy occurs mainly in people with personality disorders and can be co-morbid with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, etc.

pseudo-disease disorder

How to recognize pseudo-disease disorder?

Pseudo-disease is characterized by acts of masquerading to make others believe that they have the disease. However, some people intentionally perform fake acts on others. This condition is called pseudo-disease disorder. In both of these forms, the patient is aware of his or her behavior, but neither has a clear reason or purpose.

1. Disorders that fake illness on themselves

Pseudo-self disorder is a condition in which the patient intentionally exaggerates his or her symptoms. Or you can imitate behaviors and expressions to convince people that you really have physical and mental problems.

pseudo-disease disorder

Patient intentionally imitates pathological symptoms or exaggerates his/her own symptoms

Signs of self-imposed illness:

  • There are acts of pretending to convince others that they are sick such as severe abdominal pain, vomiting blood, heart attack, sweating, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, etc.
  • Some patients perform self-injurious behaviors such as intentionally causing themselves to bleed, become infected or even inject bacteria into the skin to form abscesses, pustules, etc.
  • Patients can use knives, scissors to make incisions on the body. In severe cases, the fingers and toes can be amputated on their own.
  • Patients can fake tests or intentionally take drugs, use alcohol, etc. to falsify test results.
  • People with pseudogout are often dishonest when reporting their symptoms and medical history to their doctors. Patients tend to exaggerate the extent of their symptoms, complicating pain and how they feel.
  • Patients often go to many hospitals, clinics and especially often use fake names to make it difficult for doctors to check the examination history and health. Patients always need to be examined, tested, X-rayed, MRI and monitored at the hospital even though doctors consider it unnecessary.
  • Most patients have extensive knowledge and understanding of the medical field. When visiting, patients often suggest to the doctor some problems they may have, and most of the diseases mentioned by patients are serious.
  • Patients intentionally create many false symptoms, so sometimes the symptoms are inconsistent and doctors have a lot of difficulty in diagnosing the disease. Patients often intentionally make up their own history of serious health problems.
  • People with pseudo-disease deliberately live and eat disorderly, such as using a lot of alcohol, smoking, salty and greasy foods, fasting, staying up late and being sedentary to get sick. the.
  • When medical staff assume that a patient does not have an illness or has only mild health problems, the person may become angry and irritable. Some people argued fiercely and asked the doctor to do more tests.
  • Pseudo-disorder is different from intentional disease-motivated behaviors. People with this disorder are aware of their own behavior but have absolutely no motive or purpose. Patients themselves often do not consider the purpose but just want to convince those around them that they really have the disease.
  • The patient had very clear symptoms but the test results were negative.
  • Refuse to be psychologically evaluated.
  • When asked to leave the hospital, patients often intentionally fake illness to receive care and treatment at the hospital for a longer time.
  • When caught in the act of intentionally mimicking symptoms or falsifying test papers, the patient never admits it. Patients will continue to visit other medical facilities until they are diagnosed with a dangerous disease and receive treatment.

In fact, pseudo-disease is difficult to detect because patients are dishonest in reporting and deliberately mimicking symptoms. People with this condition themselves spend a lot of time thoroughly researching health problems. Therefore, doctors often assume that patients are suffering from many diseases at the same time, so they have complicated symptoms.

It is for this reason that most patients with pseudo-disease are not detected early. This disease is usually only discovered when the patient is lax in answering the doctor’s questions or when others find evidence of intentional acts of pretending to be ill.

2. Disorder that fakes illness on others

Pseudo-disease disorder is a condition in which a patient intentionally fakes symptoms on another person so that people believe that person really has the disease. The target audience is usually the person they care for, such as a child, the youngest in the family, or the elderly.

Similar to self-pity disorder, the patient also has absolutely no motive or purpose for the act of faking illness on others. This condition is extremely dangerous because the subject that the patient intentionally fakes the disease is at risk of death or facing permanent sequelae.

pseudo-disease disorder

Patients may also perform ill-willed behaviors on other people – usually the elderly and young children

Signs to recognize the disorder pseudo-disease to others:

  • Making up symptoms on people the patient is taking care of such as children, siblings, disabled people, the elderly, etc. to make people believe that these people really have the disease.
  • The patient may also intentionally perform behaviors aimed at making others sick such as using drugs, adding poisons to food or drink, giving that person food to which they are allergic, etc. Or Patients may also add bacteria to their urine or stools to falsify the test results.
  • Show concern and desire for the person the patient is caring for to receive timely medical intervention.
  • Acts of pretending to be sick on others can cause the victim to die or get really sick.
  • For children, the patient may suggest that the child believe that he or she really has the disease. Therefore, most doctors misdiagnose this case.
  • The disordered acts of pretending to be ill on others have absolutely no motive such as intentionally concealing paradoxical acts or receiving donations, support, etc.

Compared with the disorder that mimics the disease on oneself, the disorder that fakes the disease on others is very difficult to detect. The subjects that patients target are sensitive, poor health and vulnerable subjects. With extensive knowledge, patients can psychologically manipulate these subjects into believing that they really have pathological symptoms.

Causes of pseudo-disease disorder

As with other psychiatric disorders, the cause of pseudocytosis is unknown. Experts say that people with this condition often experience emotional trauma.

Although the exact cause is unknown, pseudodisease is thought to be related to the following factors:

  • Negative experiences from childhood such as abandonment, emotional, physical abuse, etc.
  • Experiencing serious trauma such as a loved one’s terminal illness, sudden loss of a loved one, a serious accident, or serious illness as a child.
  • Have personality disorders, especially borderline personality disorder.
  • People with this condition often have unstable relationships and rarely maintain healthy, long-term relationships (with the exception of family).
  • Experts say that sometimes pretending to be sick is for patients to protect their self-esteem in the face of failure.
  • Having mood disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, etc. can increase the risk of pseudo-disorder.
  • Some experts have found that patients with pseudo-disease disorder may perform feigned illness for the purpose of flaunting their knowledge. However, this purpose is not at all beneficial to the patient. Is there a sense of satisfaction when a patient fools doctors, nurses, and those around them?

Pseudodisease is defined as having no genetic association. However, living with people with this disorder will more or less affect the child’s behavior and emotions as they grow up.

Is pseudodisease dangerous?

Pseudo-disorder is a serious mental disorder. This disease does not pose a direct threat to health. However, the patient’s faking behaviors can expose themselves or the subjects to the feigned illness to face severe sequelae and sometimes death.

Besides, constantly faking illness and exaggerating symptoms causes patients to spend a lot of money on health care services. The patient completely does not focus on work, study and does not care about relationships. What the patient is most interested in is convincing people to believe that they or the person they are caring for is sick – even though this doesn’t do any good at all.

pseudo-disease disorder

The patient himself or the subject of the patient’s feigned illness is at risk of facing permanent sequelae

In general, people with pseudocytosis are unable to lead a normal life. They constantly visit, perform tests and treat, making the people around them extremely tired and stressed. When undiagnosed, patients may experience stress, irritability, anger, and disgust. These emotions build up, prompting the person to use alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.

Similar to other mental disorders, pseudo-disorder disorder increases problems in life. This is the condition for a number of mental problems to develop, the most common being depression, anxiety disorders, paranoid disorders, etc. If not treated early, patients can lose their jobs and live side-by-side. belong to the family.

How is pseudocytosis diagnosed?

One of the reasons pseudogout is more severe than many other mental illnesses is because the diagnostic process is so difficult. Firstly, because the patient is very knowledgeable about health issues, the symptoms expressed and reported by the patient are highly convincing. The second is because the patient actually performed the behavior to get himself sick (fasting, injecting bacteria into himself, …).

Most patients with pseudocytosis are not detected early. The average time to detect the disease is about 10-20 years. The person who finds out can be a family member or the doctor accidentally finds a patient using a lot of fake names for medical examination.

People with pseudo-disease always deny the disease, so the diagnosis based on the examination is almost ineffective. For this condition, the diagnostic process sometimes requires the involvement of family members.

Currently, the diagnosis of pseudodisease disorder is based on the following factors:

Medical history (however difficult to find because patients use many pseudonyms and for clinic/hospital security reasons)
Based on clinical presentation (patients seem to exaggerate their symptoms)
Identify acts of fake illness not for obvious purposes such as winning a lawsuit, claiming compensation, taking time off work, enjoying insurance, etc.

The doctor will discuss further with the family to explore the patient’s medical history and medical history. Pseudocytosis is now recognized as a mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Therefore, doctors can use the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria to make a diagnosis for this condition.

Methods of treating pseudo-disorder

Pseudo-disorder is a very complex and serious mental disorder. Currently, there is no proven method for this disease. However, treatments will still be applied to improve symptoms and help patients improve quality of life.

1. Approach the patient properly

Patients with pseudogout often refuse psychological and psychiatric evaluation. Therefore, the process of diagnosing and treating this pathology is extremely challenging. The common response in people with pseudodisorder is to negate the disease. Patients often have heated arguments with their doctors, are angry, irritable, and refuse to receive treatment.

After that, the patient continues to journey to other clinics/hospitals until they are diagnosed and treated as desired. In order to keep the medical history from being recorded and searched, patients often use a fake name for each medical visit.

pseudo-disease disorder

The most important step in the treatment of pseudocytosis is for the physician to properly approach the patient to accept the treatment

Therefore, the most important thing when treating pseudocytosis is to approach the patient properly. Instead of affirming that the patient intentionally faked the disease, the doctor only made a diagnosis and did not mention the patient’s pretending behaviors. Some doctors use stress as an excuse for symptoms that they intentionally mimic or exaggerate.

Ignoring faking behavior will help the patient avoid feelings of shame and anger. The doctor will make a diagnosis and determine the cause of stress, then will recommend treatment options. Although the doctor does not explicitly admit to the acts of faking illness, the doctor will still mention the importance of treatment. Thus, the patient will be more conscious during the treatment intervention.

The purpose of the patient with a pseudo-disorder is to be admitted to have the disease and to receive medical care. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance for the physician to reach out to the patient to accept the treatments. After the condition is stable, specialists can use psychotherapy to inform the patient about the condition and guide the patient to change the intentional behaviors that cause the disease.

2. Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is the most effective method for pseudopathy, although the treatment process is still difficult and limited. The goal of this approach is to change the pseudo-disease behaviors on self and others. For disorders that fake illness on others, experts will isolate the patient from the subject to avoid unfortunate situations.

pseudo-disease disorder

Psychotherapy is currently the most effective method for patients with pseudopathy

Psychologists say that feigning illness is often linked to underlying psychological trauma. Depending on the individual patient, specialists may use psychotherapeutic measures such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Family therapy

These therapies will help patients change their distorted and distorted thinking, thereby reducing their fake illness behaviors on themselves and others. In addition, the family will also be involved in therapy to better understand the pseudo-disease disorder. At the same time, the specialist will also guide relatives to adjust their attitudes and behaviors so that the patient can reduce the behavior of pretending to be ill.

3. Drug use

There is no single drug that can treat pseudocytosis. However, most people with this condition are co-morbid with many mental disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, paranoid disorders, etc. Therefore, the drug will be used to improve physical symptoms and accompanying mental illness.

Patients may have to take long-term medication, so they need to be closely monitored by the family to avoid voluntary quitting. In addition, the family should also pay attention to unusual manifestations in order to promptly send the patient to the hospital. In the case of patients engaging in risky behaviors, inpatient treatment is necessary to avoid unfortunate situations.

Pseudo-disorder is a rare but extremely serious mental illness. Currently, there is no way to prevent this disease. The only thing that can be done is to pay attention to abnormal manifestations so that the patient can be examined and treated as soon as possible. However, the family should not directly tell the patient about their intentional faking illness, but should inform the doctor for an appropriate approach.

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