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Insights into the clinical profile and comorbidities of Factitious Disorder in a multispeciality setting in southwest Nigeria: A cases series and review

Fasesan OA
Awokoya ET


Background: Factitious disorder (FD) is an under-recognized and under-diagnosed mental condition. Healthcare professionals often have challenges to diagnose and treating the disorder. As a result, needless and endless medical resources are recommended to assess and evaluate those affected. FD may present as a physical condition, a psychological disorder, or maybe both depending on the prominent symptoms. However, there is a strong correlation between having FD and psychiatric symptoms.

Main Text: FD occurs in early adulthood, with a mean age of onset of 25 years in both genders, although with differing demographic features. The lifetime prevalence of FD imposed on oneself in clinical settings is 1.0%, 0.1% in the overall population (ranging between 0.007% and 8.0%) and occurs more in female health care professionals. FD may make up 0.6%–3.0% of psychiatric referrals, and it accounts for 3-5% of doctor-patient contacts. In actuality, 1-2% of hospital admissions and an average of 6-8% of all psychiatric admissions have been underreported. The study aimed to highlight the signs and symptoms of FD identified in a psychiatry department of a multispecialty center and to increase the awareness of health practitioners. A critical review of the literature was done with an emphasis on psychological symptoms. PubMed, Mendeley, and Google Scholar were thoroughly searched and full-text publications of journals from 2010-2021 were included.

Conclusion: FD is a diagnostic puzzle that necessitates adequate, prompt medical attention as well as social support because of the potentially fatal consequence. A stronger patient-therapist relationship can strengthen the patient's conscious self-control to minimize the symptoms; therefore the healthcare provider has to be open-minded. For the diagnostic enigma to be removed and for ease of treatment, additional research, increasing awareness among medical professionals and the general public, accurate evaluation, diagnosis, and psychotherapy should be encouraged. These case studies will contribute to the knowledge base of FD and improve the quality of care.