Individuals with factitious disorder imposed on self may report physical symptoms that suggest a particular disorder, such as chest pain that resembles a heart attack.
Or they may report symptoms that could result from many different disorders, such as blood in their urine, diarrhoea, or fever.
They often know a lot about the disorder they are pretending to have – for example, that pain from a heart attack may spread from the chest to the left arm or jaw.
They may change medical records to provide evidence that they have a disorder.
Sometimes they do something to themselves to produce the symptom. For example, they may prick a finger and put the blood in a urine specimen. Or they may inject bacteria under their skin to produce a fever and sores.
Individuals with the disorder are usually quite intelligent and resourceful. They not only know how to convincingly fake a disorder, but they also have sophisticated knowledge of medical practices.
They can manipulate their care so that they are hospitalised and subjected to intense testing and treatment, including major operations.
Their deceits are conscious, but their motivation and quest for attention are largely unconscious.
They often wander from one medical professional or hospital to another for treatment.
Factitious disorder imposed on self may continue throughout life.