(See also Overview of Somatization Overview of Somatization Somatization is the expression of mental phenomena as physical (somatic) symptoms. Disorders characterized by somatization extend in a continuum from those in which symptoms develop unconsciously... read more and Factitious Disorder Imposed on Self Factitious Disorder Imposed on Self Factitious disorder is falsification of physical or psychologic symptoms without an obvious external incentive; the motivation for this behavior is to assume the sick role. Symptoms can be acute... read more .)
Previously, this disorder was known as factitious disorder by proxy or Munchausen syndrome by proxy. In factitious disorder imposed on another, people, usually caregivers (such as a parent), intentionally produce or falsify physical or psychologic symptoms or signs in a person in their care (usually a child), rather than in themselves (as in factitious disorder imposed on self).
The caregiver falsifies history and may injure the child with drugs or other agents or add blood or bacterial contaminants to urine specimens to simulate disease. The caregiver seeks medical care for the child and appears to be deeply concerned and protective. The child typically has a history of frequent hospitalizations, usually for a variety of nonspecific symptoms, but no firm diagnosis. Victimized children may be seriously ill and sometimes die.