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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2002 March;43(1):63-70

language: Italian

Factitious quadriplegia in pre-adolescence. A case report

Montirosso R., Bardoni A., Mansi G., Castelli E.


A 13-year-old boy was admitted to our Institute owing to quadriparesis, but with a diagnosis of suspect reflex sympathetic dystrophy. His medical history was rather complex, he was repeatedly admitted to different hospitals. The clinical and psychopathological assessment suggested the presence of a factitious disorder which was confirmed by means of a covert video (authorized by his parents). This case was dealt with by using a non-confrontative approach with the aim to follow the clinical evolution, on the one hand, and to offer the adolescent a plausible ''way-out'', on the other. Besides the necessary rehabilitation treatments, the adolescent received psychotherapy and was involved in activities which were as close as possible to ''normal'' life so as to deprive him of the reinforcing factor inevitably linked to admission to hospital. After nearly 10 months a regression of the physical symptomatology was observed, along with a change in his psychological and relational picture.

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