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Devotees, Pretenders and Wannabes: Two Cases of Factitious Disability Disorder

Abstract

Despite having been described for more than a century, there is no understanding of the origin of the attractions, desires and behaviors of devotees, pretenders and wannabes (DPW's). Devotees are non-disabled people who are sexually attracted to people with disabilities, pretenders are non-disabled people who act as if they have a disability by using assistive devices and wannabes actually want to become disabled, sometimes going to extraordinary lengths to have a limb amputated. Two cases are presented in an effort to understand the psychology of DPW's and to suggest one psychologic concept—that of Factitious Disability Disorders—that may explain not only the obsession to be with disabled persons, but also the desire to pretend to be disabled and even the compulsion to become disabled. Also presented is a combined cognitive-behavioral approach to modify DPW's obsessions and compulsive, intrusive, illegal and sometimes self-injurious behaviors.

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Bruno, R.L. Devotees, Pretenders and Wannabes: Two Cases of Factitious Disability Disorder. Sexuality and Disability 15, 243–260 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024769330761

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  • amputees
  • paraphilias
  • sexual deviations
  • factitious disorders
  • Munchausen's syndrome