A diagnosis is made via a medical professional’s evaluation.
Medical professionals first check for physical and mental health disorders by taking a thorough medical history, doing a thorough physical examination, and doing tests.
Most of the time, the individual’s description of symptoms is convincing, sometimes misleading medical professional. However, medical professionals may suspect the disorder based on the following:
- The medical history is dramatic but inconsistent.
- Treatment worsens rather than relieves symptoms.
- After test results come back negative or after they are treated for one group of symptoms, individuals develop different symptoms or go to another hospital for care.
- Individuals have an extensive knowledge of medical practice.
- Individuals are willing or eager to have diagnostic tests and surgical procedures.
- They have a history of frequent visits to many different medical professionals and hospitals.
- They resist letting medical professionals talk to family members and to medical professionals who have treated them in the past.
The diagnosis of factitious disorders imposed on self is made when all of the following are confirmed:
- Other disorders are ruled out.
- Medical professionals observe or discover evidence of exaggeration, faking, falsification, self-induced production of symptoms, or alterations in the medical history.
- The individual has no obvious external incentives for faking or exaggerating symptoms.
Medical professionals may refer the individual to a psychiatrist or other mental health practitioner.
If the disorder is diagnosed early, risky invasive testing, surgical procedures, and unnecessary treatments can be avoided.