How to use Munchausen in a sentence
An example is the " Munchausen syndrome by proxy " theory put forward by Professor Sir Roy Meadow and now discredited.
Munchausen syndrome is a psychiatric disorder that causes an individual to self-inflict injury or illness or to fabricate symptoms of physical or mental illness in order to receive medical care or hospitalization.
In a variation of the disorder, Munchausen by proxy (MSBP), an individual, typically a mother, intentionally causes or fabricates illness in a child or other person under her care.
Munchausen syndrome takes its name from Baron Karl Friederich von Munchausen, an eighteenth century German military man known for his tall tales.
Categorized as a factitious disorder (a disorder in which the physical or psychological symptoms are under voluntary control), Munchausen syndrome seems to be motivated by a need to assume the role of a patient.Advertisement
Unlike malingering, there does not seem to be any clear secondary gain (e.g., money) in Munchausen syndrome.
Individuals with Munchausen by proxy syndrome use their child (or another dependent person) to fulfill their need to step into the patient role.
Both Munchausen syndrome and Munchausen syndrome by proxy are thought to be rare, but there are no solid statistics on the frequency of either diagnosis.
Data on Munchausen syndrome in children and adolescents specifically are very limited.
Munchausen syndrome by proxy is also hard to quantify due to the number of undetected or undiagnosed cases.Advertisement
The exact cause of Munchausen syndrome is unknown.
It has been theorized that Munchausen patients are motivated by a desire to be cared for, a need for attention, dependency, an ambivalence toward doctors, or a need to suffer.
Factors that may predispose an individual to Munchausen include a serious illness in childhood or an existing personality disorder.
Some research indicates that children and adolescents who develop Munchausen syndrome are more likely to have been previous victims of Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
The Munchausen and Munchausen by proxy patient can appear to have a wide array of physical or psychiatric symptoms, usually limited only by their (or their caregiver's) medical knowledge.Advertisement
Many Munchausen patients are very familiar with medical terminology and symptoms.
Common Munchausen by proxy symptoms include apnea (cessation of breathing), fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.
In both Munchausen and MSBP syndromes, the suspected illness does not respond to a normal course of treatment, and diagnostic tests turn up nothing out of the ordinary.
Because Munchausen sufferers often go from doctor to doctor, gaining admission into many hospitals along the way, diagnosis can be difficult.
A diagnosis of Munchausen syndrome may be even more difficult in children and adolescents.Advertisement
There is no clearly effective treatment for Munchausen syndrome.
Extensive psychotherapy may be helpful with some Munchausen patients.
If Munchausen syndrome coexists with other mental disorders, such as a personality disorder, the underlying disorder is typically treated first.
Children who are victims of Munchausen syndrome by proxy are usually removed from the offending caregiver immediately and placed in protective custody.
The infections and injuries Munchausen patients self-inflict can cause serious illness.Advertisement
Because the cause of Munchausen syndrome is unknown, formulating a prevention strategy is difficult.
Some medical facilities and healthcare practitioners have attempted to limit hospital admissions for Munchausen patients by sharing medical records.
While these attempts may curb the number of hospital admissions, they do not treat the underlying disorder and may endanger Munchausen sufferers that have made themselves critically ill and require treatment.
Children who are found to be victims of persons with Munchausen by proxy syndrome should be immediately removed from the care of the abusing parent or guardian.
Untangling the Web of Munchausen Syndrome, Munchausen by Proxy, Malingering, and Factitious Disorder.Advertisement
A rare form of physical abuse is Munchausen syndrome by proxy, in which a caretaker (most often the mother) seeks attention by making the child sick or appear to be sick.
Munchausen syndrome by proxy-A form of abuse in which a parent induces symptoms of disease in a child.
Something similar was attempted by Raspe in his Munchausen sixty years later.