Munchausen disorder

Summary Munchausen syndrome is a mental disorder in which the patient fakes illness to gain attention and sympathy. This can result in doctors providing unnecessary treatment, including surgery. Munchausen syndrome is difficult to diagnose because many other conditions need to be ruled out first.

Munchausen disorder

Munchausen syndrome by proxy MSP -- or Munchausen by proxy -- is a psychological disorder marked by attention-seeking behavior by a caregiver through those who are in their care.

MSP is a relatively rare behavioral disorder. It affects a primary caretaker, often the mother. The person with MSP gains attention by seeking medical help for exaggerated or made-up symptoms of a child in his or her care.

The person with MSP does not seem to be motivated by a desire for any type of material gain. Munchausen disorder may simply lie about symptoms, alter tests such as contaminating a urine samplefalsify medical records, or they may actually induce symptoms through various means, such as poisoning, suffocating, starving, and causing infection.

Certain characteristics are common in a person with MSP, including: Is a parent or caregiver, usually a mother May be a health care professional Is very friendly and cooperative with the health care providers Appears quite concerned some may seem overly concerned about their child May suffer from Munchausen syndrome a related disorder in which a person repeatedly acts as if he or she has a physical or mental illness when he or she is not really sick Other possible warning signs of MSP include: The child has a history of many hospitalizations, often with a strange set of symptoms.

Munchausen disorder

There may be more than one unusual illness or death of children in the family. Blood in lab samples may not match the blood of the child. The exact cause of MSP is not known, but researchers are looking at the roles of biological and psychological factors in its development.


Some theories suggest that a history of abuse or neglect as a child, or the early loss of a parent may be factors in its development. Some evidence suggests that major stress, such as marital problems, can trigger MSP. There are no reliable statistics regarding the number of people in the U.

Munchausen disorder

Diagnosing MSP is very difficult because of the dishonesty that is involved. Remember, it is the adult, not the child, who is diagnosed with MSP.

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

Successful treatment of people with MSP is difficult because those with the disorder often deny there is a problem. In addition, treatment success is dependent on the person telling the truth, and people with MSP 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 MSP 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. This disorder can lead to serious short- and long-term complications, including continued abuse, multiple hospitalizations, and the death of the victim.


In some situations, a child victim of MSP learns to relate getting attention to being sick and develops Munchausen syndrome themselves.

In general, MSP is a very difficult disorder to treat and often requires years of therapy and support. In addition, MSP is considered a form of child abusewhich is a criminal offense. There is no known way to prevent this disorder. Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome.Helping family members & loved-ones of people who suffer from personality disorders.

Munchausen syndrome, referred to as a factitious disorder, is a mental illness that involves the sufferers causing or pretending to have physical or psychological symptoms in themselves. Adults aged years are most likely to develop Munchausen syndrome. Munchausen syndrome is a mental disorder condition in which a person intentionally fakes, simulates, worsens, or self-induces an injury or illness for the main purpose of being treated like a medical patient.

Take a look at the wealth of resources, courtesy of Dr. Marc Feldman, for understanding Munchausen syndrome, factitious disorder imposed on self, factitious disorder imposed on others, Munchausen by proxy and much more, from the international expert in factitious disorder, Munchausen syndrome, Munchausen by proxy, and .

Playing Sick?: Untangling the Web of Munchausen Syndrome, Munchausen by Proxy, Malingering, and Factitious Disorder: Medicine & Health Science Books @ Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSP) -- or Munchausen by proxy -- is a psychological disorder marked by attention-seeking behavior by a caregiver through those who are in their care.

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