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Psychosomatics. 2006 Jan-Feb;47(1):23-32.

Factitious disorders: reformulating the DSM-IV criteria.

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  • 1Mental Health Unit, University Hospital of North Tees, Hardwick, Stockton On Tees, UK.


The author criticizes and reformulates the DSM-IV criteria in a clinically and nosologically sensitive way. Criterion A, the intentional production of physical or psychological signs or symptoms, emphasizes symptoms and cannot accommodate pseudologia fantastica, voluntary false confessions, and impersonations. Criterion B, the motivation is to assume the "sick role," has no empirical content and fulfills no diagnostic function. The two criteria need reformulating in terms of lies and self-harm, respectively. Criterion C causes misdiagnosis by pushing factitious disorders into the somatoform and malingering categories and should be abandoned. The author discusses the implications for the etiology of conversion disorders and the classification of factitious disorders.

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