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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Factitious Disorder?

 tristan82ps - Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:13 am

This is an extention of my Tardive Dyskenesia post. I had mentioned acting out as a cry for help. A nurse at the hospital who wasn't in any position to diagnose me, but got to know me, mentioned something called factitious disorder. He didn't say whether he thought I had it or not, we just talked about it and the possibilities of why I ended up in the hospital. He asked if I was looking for attention or felt like I needed to be taken care of and I said yeah. I had only acted out(speaking incoherently,pacing back and forth) once, which landed me my first visit. There were about 3 more visits (all were to be involuntary if I didn't voluntarily sign) following that due to my not adjusting/complying to the antipsychotic meds, fear of that Dystonic Reaction happening again, and increasing anxiety(which never got treated). The ER where I was taken those times always sent me to that same psych hospital even though I would ask to be sent to a different one or refuse to go to the hospital altogether, but they threatened me by saying I could either voluntarily sign in or get sectioned with involuntary hospitalization and that I had to go to that particular hospital because they know me already.
I would always refuse the risperdal at first, but after being told by the doctor(who I saw for 5 minutes a day) that I would not leave the hospital until it was in my system, I finally complied.
Just to let you know, I don't and never did hear voices or see things.
Unfortunately, I have been honest with every doctor/mental health professional by disclosing my diagnosises. This further set the diagnosises in stone and for about 2 years, I've been suffering anxiety and pounding heart while being treated with risperdal, seroquel, the whole works. I have been off the antipsychotics for 4 years now. I tried Paxil for about a year which helped a little, but I decided to stop taking it a few months ago because I was feeling better.
I absolutely hate putting labels on myself, but the fact that I've been given labels that I feel were incorrect (Psychosis, Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar) makes me want to at least correct them so that if in the future I ever do need help again, I won't be getting chemotherapy when all I have is a sprained ankle.

In your opinion, would you consider my acting out initially a brief episode of factitious disorder, or should I go with what the doctors say and believe I really was psychotic? I honestly believe I was a young kid in my late teens who felt that saying, "I need help" was not okay and did something else to get it.
To put your mind at ease, I am consulting other professional sources. The worker I am seeing does not believe I am bipolar/or psychotic. I am currently not on any medication at all, and she thinks it is entirely up to me if I want to go on medication for anxiety. But correcting the labels is very important to me. I take the blame for the initial episode, but I am angry at the ER doctors and the hospital for the unnecessary treatment! Thanks.
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:53 pm

Hello tristan82ps,

When you acted out as a cry for help, you therefore must have had symptoms with which you felt the need for help. Many disorders have crossover symptoms, so that there may be features of a disorder, without having the actual disorder. It's difficult to say if your symptoms were factitious, or as were diagnosed (psychosis, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar). However, the fact that you required several hospitalizations during your treatment indicates need for ongoing treatment. Your worker's diagnosis of you apparently is in accordance with your opinion, so that should be satisfactory to you. The best way to eliminate the disorders/labels that are bothering you, is to no longer express those symptoms over time, and have your worker document in that regard. No one is able to undo the past, so your anger is not helpful to you. You can only move forward. If I were your therapist, I would request psycholigical testing to rule out or confirm your diagnoses, along with a possible personality disorder. Please discuss doing so with your worker.

I hope this helps. Good luck to you.

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