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If a person admits to their behaviour, they can be referred to specialist psychiatric services for further treatment. If they don't admit to lying, most experts agree the doctor in charge of their care should minimise medical contact with them. This is because the doctor-patient relationship is based on trust and if there's evidence the patient can no longer be trusted, the doctor is unable to continue treating them.

Munchausen's syndrome - NHS

CBT helps a person identify unhelpful and unrealistic beliefs and behavioural patterns. A specially trained therapist teaches the person ways of replacing unrealistic beliefs with more realistic and balanced ones. The person with the syndrome and their close family members discuss how it's affected the family and the positive changes that can be made. It can also teach family members how to avoid reinforcing the person's abnormal behaviour.

From the available case studies, there appear to be two relatively distinct groups of people affected by Munchausen's syndrome.


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It's unclear why these two groups tend to be affected by Munchausen's syndrome. It's also not known how common the syndrome is. It's also possible cases may be overdiagnosed as the same person could use different identities. Fabricated or induced illness , also known as Munchausen's by proxy, is a variant of Munchausen's syndrome. This is where a person fabricates or induces illness in a person under their care.

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Most cases involve a mother and her child. Skip to main content.


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Overview - Munchausen's syndrome Contents Overview Signs and symptoms. What causes Munchausen's syndrome? They may do this because they: Personality disorders Some examples of the different personality disorders thought to be linked with Munchausen's syndrome include: Diagnosing Munchausen's syndrome Diagnosing Munchausen's syndrome can be challenging for medical professionals.

Investigating claims If a healthcare professional suspects a person may have Munchausen's syndrome, they'll look at the person's health records to check for inconsistencies between their claimed and actual medical history. Munchausen's syndrome can usually be confidently diagnosed if: Fabricated or induced illness Fabricated or induced illness , also known as Munchausen's by proxy, is a variant of Munchausen's syndrome.

Depending on the symptoms, almost any laboratory test can be used to determine if the symptoms result from a true disease process.

Challenges presented by Munchausen syndrome

Test results that are inconsistent or atypical of the claimed illness may be an indication of Munchausen syndrome. Imaging studies such as X-rays or scans may be helpful in diagnosing Munchausen syndrome. Many claimed medical problems, such as tumors, can be easily viewed with imaging tests. Initially, the medical care of people with Munchausen syndrome is aimed at relieving the claimed symptoms and any injury made by the person to induce the symptoms. Treating people who have Munchausen syndrome is difficult because they are often unwilling to admit they have it.

What Are the Symptoms of Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy?

The treating doctor must be very judicious with invasive diagnostic tests or surgeries, yet try not to miss serious medical conditions. Medications can be useful if conditions exist along with the Munchausen syndrome. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors can be helpful in people with Munchausen syndrome who also often have comorbid depression , and at least theoretically, low-dose antipsychotics can help those with coexisting borderline personality disorder.

People with Munchausen syndrome can induce or develop authentic illnesses requiring surgery, but further surgical procedures should be treated with great caution. Other Forms of Treatment for Munchausen Syndrome. Psychotherapy of various types strategic, psychodynamic, cognitive has been reported anecdotally to be of benefit in selected cases.

What Are the Symptoms of Munchausen Syndrome?

Many people with Munchausen syndrome experience long-term medical complications from illnesses they have induced or from the mechanisms used to treat them. People with Munchausen syndrome are rarely treated successfully. They are reluctant to seek treatment for the psychological problem and are generally unwilling to undergo psychiatric treatment. The self-inflicted illnesses and injuries of people with Munchausen syndrome can cause serious consequences. These individuals often undergo several unnecessary surgeries throughout their lifetime.

The prognosis for Munchausen syndrome by proxy MSBP is very poor if the child involved is left in the home.

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There is also a high rate of chronic illness morbidity and death mortality in siblings of children with MSBP. For More Information on Munchausen Syndrome.