How is factitious disorder imposed on another treated?

The first concern in cases of FDIA is to ensure the safety and protection of any real or potential victims. This might require that the child be placed in the care of another. In fact, managing a case involving FDIA often requires a team that includes social workers, foster care organizations, and law enforcement, as well as the health care providers.

Successful treatment of people with FDIA is difficult because those with the disorder often deny there is a problem. In addition, treatment success is dependent on catching the person in the act or the person telling the truth. People with FDIA tend to be such accomplished liars that they begin to have trouble telling fact from fiction.

Psychotherapy (a type of counseling) generally focuses on changing the thinking and behavior of the individual with the disorder (cognitive-behavioral therapy). The goal of therapy for FDIA is to help the person identify the thoughts and feelings that are contributing to the behavior, and to learn to form relationships that are not associated with being ill.

What are the complications of factitious disorder imposed on another?

This disorder can lead to serious short- and long-term complications, including continued abuse, multiple hospitalizations, and the death of the victim. (Research suggests that the death rate for victims of FDIA is about 10 percent.) In some cases, a child victim of FDIA learns to associate getting attention to being sick and develops factitious disorder imposed on self. Considered a form of child abuse, FDIA is a criminal offense.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/26/2014.


  • American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th ed. Arlington, VA American Psychiatric Publishing .pp 324-326.
  • Stirling J. Beyond Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy: Identification and Treatment of Child Abuse in a Medical Setting, Pediatrics. 2007;119:1026-1030. Accessed 01/06/2015.

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