What is Munchausen syndrome by proxy?
Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSP) is a mental illness. It is also a form of child abuse. It affects caregivers, especially caregivers of children. It is also known as factitious disorder by proxy. Mothers of small children are most often affected by this condition. Fathers or other caregivers can have it as well.
Someone suffering from MSP will act as though the person under his or her care is sick. They often will falsify medical information. They may lie to medical professionals about the health or condition of the person in their care. They do this to gain sympathy or for attention.
Someone who has MSP may purposely take action to make their child sick. They knowingly will expose the child to painful or risky medical procedures, even surgeries. They may deliberately create symptoms in a child. They can do this by withholding food, poisoning or suffocating the child, giving the child inappropriate medicines, or withholding prescribed medicines. Creating these situations can put the child at extreme risk.
Common illnesses or symptoms that caregivers take MSP victims to the doctor for include:
- Failure to thrive
- Nausea and vomiting
- Breathing difficulty and asthma
- Allergic reactions
- Fevers of unknown origins
- Other illnesses that require immediate emergency care
Those with MSP are not discouraged by the cost of medical treatments. They don’t worry about how they will manage the bills. Instead, they believe driving up a large hospital bill reinforces the perception that they are doing everything they can for their child. They think others will see them as even better caretakers. read more
Factitious disorder is a mental disorder in which a person acts as if they have a physical or psychological illness when they themselves have created the symptoms. People with this disorder are willing to undergo painful or risky tests to get sympathy and special attention.
What is factitious disorder?
Factitious disorder is a serious mental health disorder in which a person appears sick or produces physical or mental illness. People with factitious disorder deliberately produce symptoms of an illness for the purpose of receiving care and attention in a medical setting. The symptoms aren’t intended to get them practical benefits — the gain is believed to be mainly psychological.
Factitious disorder is considered a mental illness. It’s associated with severe emotional difficulties and patients’ likelihood of harming themselves by continuing to produce more symptoms, resulting in getting themselves unnecessary procedures and surgeries.
What are the types of factitious disorder?
Factitious disorders are of two types:
- Factitious disorder imposed on self: This type includes the falsifying of psychological or physical signs or symptoms. An example of a psychological factitious disorder is mimicking behavior that is typical of a mental illness, such as schizophrenia. The person may appear confused, make absurd statements, and report hallucinations (the experience of sensing things that are not there; for example, hearing voices).
- Factitious disorder imposed on another: People with this disorder produce or fabricate symptoms of illness in others under their care: children, elderly adults, disabled persons or pets. It most often occurs in mothers (although it can occur in fathers) who intentionally harm their children in order to receive attention. The diagnosis is not given to the victim, but rather to the perpetrator. read more