Factitious disorder — sometimes called Munchausen’s syndrome — is a condition in which a person acts as though they are physically or mentally ill when they are not.
Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy is when someone lies about another person having an illness. This condition is most common in mothers, who feign illness in their child and lie to a doctor about it.
The causes of factitious disorder are unknown. Theories include:
- biological or genetic causes
- childhood abuse or neglect
- low self-esteem
- the presence of a personality disorder
- substance abuse