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The Spectrum of Factitious Disorders

Edited by Marc D. Feldman, M.D., and Stuart J. Eisendrath, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-0-88048-909-6
  • Item #8909


Factitious disorder presents one of the most challenging variants of psychopathology in medicine. The Spectrum of Factitious Disorders is the first book for professionals to offer a comprehensive overview of current thinking about patients who feign or induce illness—in themselves or others—to accrue the intangible benefits of the “sick” role.

Attempts to influence factitious patients’ behavior have been largely unsuccessful. This volume covers innovative techniques for treating such patients, stressing the need to treat them with acceptance and understanding. First-person accounts are used to illustrate the intense feelings mobilized in friends, family members, caregivers, and patients themselves as factitious disorders play out. The book also presents a management approach that emphasizes respect for the patient, no matter what the symptomatology.

Using abundant case material, this revolutionary work aids mental health practitioners in understanding the phenomenon of “disease-forgery” and addresses its inherent management challenges. Notable contributors provide relevant information on ethical and legal issues in factitious disorders. The clinical features, detection, and management of factitious disorder by proxy are explored, along with comprehensive psychosocial assessment and legal issues in such cases.


  • Historical perspectives on the spectrum of sickness: from “crock” to “crook.” Current overview of factitious physical disorders. Factitious psychological disorders. Ethical and legal issues in factitious disorders: an overview. Factitious disorders and litigation. Factitious disorder by proxy: clinical features, detection, and management. Comprehensive psychosocial assessment in factitious disorder by proxy. Legal issues in factitious disorder by proxy. Hospital epidemics of factitious disorder by proxy. Personal and interpersonal toll of factitious disorders. Management of factitious disorders. Index.

About the Authors

Marc D. Feldman, M.D., is Associate Professor, Vice Chair for Clinical Services, and Director of the Division of Adult Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB). He is also Medical Director of the UAB Center for Psychiatric Medicine. Dr. Feldman has lectured widely to both professional and lay audiences and is the co-author of the book Patient or Pretender: Inside the Strange World of Factitious Disorders.

Stuart J. Eisendrath, M.D., is Director of the Consultation-Liaison Program at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, and a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.

This is a useful and important book by some of the leading authorities in the field. It represents the existing literature well. The sections of the book on legal and ethical aspects of factitious disorders, and the chapter on comprehensive assessment in factitious disorder by proxy are especially noteworthy contributions to the literature. . . . I have used The Spectrum of Factitious Disorders as a reference on a number of occasions already, and I assume this volume will remain a primary resource for clinicians for some time.—General Hospital Psychiatry

The book is a comprehensive but concise monograph that is highly readable. . . . Overall, The Spectrum of Factitious Disorders represents the most comprehensive book to date on the subject. Psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers, nurse specialists, and therapists will benefit from this book, and it is a must for clinicians who regularly encounter these problems. It will serve as a great reference for legal professionals who are involved with such cases.—Psychiatric Services

This concise book is informative and useful; the mental health practitioner will use it repeatedly as the need arises.—American Journal of Psychiatry

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