Munchausen by proxy

To perpetuate the medical relationship, the caregiver systematically misrepresents symptoms, fabricates signs, manipulates laboratory tests, or even purposely harms the dependent e. The average duration from onset of symptoms to diagnosis was 22 months. The mother was the perpetrator in The most-frequently reported problems are apnea

Munchausen by proxy

Characteristics[ edit ] The term "Munchausen by Internet" was first used in an article published in the Southern Medical Journal written by Marc Feldman in Feldman, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birminghamgave a name to the phenomenon inbut he co-authored an article on the topic two years earlier in the Western Journal of Medicine, using the description "virtual factitious disorder".

Signs of fabricated or induced illness

These illnesses are feigned not for monetary gain or to avoid inconvenient situations, but to attract compassion or to control others. Communities often formed on those forums, with the goal of sharing information to help other members. Medical websites also became common, giving lay users access to literature in a way that was accessible to those without specific medical training.

As Internet communication grew in popularity, users began to forgo the doctors and hospitals often consulted for medical advice. Frequenting virtual communities that have experience with a medical problem, Feldman notes, is easier than going through the physical pain or illness that would be necessary before visiting a doctor to get the attention sought.


By pretending to be gravely ill, Internet users can gain sympathy from a group whose sole reason for existence is support. Health care professionals, with their limited time, greater medical knowledge, and tendency to be more skeptical in their diagnoses, may be less likely to provide that support.

Several behaviors present themselves to suggest factors beyond genuine problems. Medical literature from websites or textbooks is often duplicated or discussed in great detail. The length and severity of purported physical ailments conflicts with user behavior. Feldman uses the example of someone posting in considerable detail about being in septic shockwhen such a possibility is extremely unlikely.

Symptoms of ailments may be exaggerated as they correspond to a user's misunderstanding of the nature of an illness.

Grave situations and increasingly critical prognoses are interspersed with "miraculous" recoveries. A user's posts eventually reveal contradictory information or claims that are implausible: When attention and sympathy decreases to focus on other members of the group, a user may announce that other dire events have transpired, including the illness or death of a close family member.

When faced with insufficient expressions of attention or sympathy, a forum member claims this as a cause that symptoms worsen or do not improve.

A user resists contact beyond the Internet, such as by telephone or personal visit, often claiming bizarre reasons for not being able to accept such contact. Further emergencies are described with inappropriate happiness, designed to garner immediate reactions.

The posts of other forum members exhibit identical writing styles, spelling errors, and language idiosyncrasies, suggesting that the user has created fictitious identities to move the conversation in their direction. For prolonged cases, he states the impetus for such behavior is the "longing for nurturing, sympathy, care and concern that they feel unable to get in appropriate ways," and that the admiration of forum members is a strong motivator to continue.

Many people who present factitious disorders crave sympathy and support because it was notably absent in childhood.

Munchausen by proxy

I believe I got addicted to it. At the time, it didn't occur to me I was hurting anyone but myself. I wonder if it's a metaphor for some other loss she experienced and is playing over and over again in different shapes. Feldman reports parallel manifestations of factitious disorder, peaking between a person's 20s and 30s.

Jones credits the anonymity of the Internet for impeding people's abilities to realize when someone is lying: After analyzing several cases of online deception and interaction, social theorists Adam Joinson and Beth Dietz-Uhler write in a Social Science Computer Review article that deception on the Internet is a paradox: Typically, Internet deception takes the form of changing one's sex or presenting one's own idealized image of oneself.

Joinson and Dietz-Uhler cite a chapter in Network and Netplay, in which researchers note the purpose of some forums is to allow their members to participate in a kind of online party, affording chances to pretend and perform: In another example, a teenager frequenting a forum for mothers with premature infants — some of whom had endured lengthy, expensive, and painful medical procedures, or had died — claimed to have given birth to a premature baby and expressed her fears for her own child, after which she received support and sympathy from the member group.

The teenager confided to the group that her baby had also died, and soon after returned to the forum to announce she was again pregnant and feared her baby would be premature, which it turned out to be, more frail this time than the first.

Factitious disorder imposed on another - Wikipedia

Forum members eventually became unsympathetic with her vivid descriptions of surgeries and confronted her.Factitious disorder imposed on self, also known as Munchausen syndrome, is a factitious disorder wherein those affected feign disease, illness, or psychological trauma to draw attention, sympathy, or reassurance to themselves.

These mothers harmed their children because of Munchausen by Proxy syndrome. Munchausen Syndrome (MSBP), factitious disorder, false victims, and centre of attention behaviour. Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSBP) features a caretaker covertly abusing a child by faking or causing symptoms in the victim.

MSBP is also called Munchausen by proxy (MBP), factitious disorder that is imposed by one individual on another, or factitious disorder, by proxy induced illness, or fabricated illness and is a mental disorder that.

Munchausen syndrome by proxy: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

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. Proxy definition, the agency, function, or power of a person authorized to act as the deputy or substitute for another.

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BBC Science - When does your mental health become a problem?