Factitious disorder, previously referred to as Munchausen syndrome, is a condition in which an individual deceives others by appearing ill, impaired, or injured by faking, purposely getting sick, or self-injury. An individual falsely presenting another person as ill, impaired, or injured is factitious disorder imposed on another. People with factitious disorder have a desire to be seen as ill or injured without any obvious external reward, such as personal or financial gain. They are aware of the deception they are engaging in, but they may not see themselves as having a problem.
The prevalence of factitious disorder is unknown because the involvement of deception makes it difficult to diagnose. It is estimated that 1 percent of patients in hospital settings meet the criteria for factitious disorder.