Munchausen Syndrome

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Is it possible to prevent Munchausen syndrome?

Prevention or early treatment of the factors that place people at risk for developing Munchausen syndrome are important ways to decrease the likelihood that the illness will develop in a specific individual. Therefore, prevention and early detection of child abuse, education of parents, and other family members of the importance of seeing the needs for attention by seriously ill family members and for those close to them may significantly help prevent Munchausen syndrome from occurring. If signs of the illness are detected, the earlier they can be addressed, both following the onset of the illness and at the youngest age possible for the victim, the better the likely outcome.

Where can people get more information about Munchausen syndrome?

American Psychiatric Association

American Psychological Association

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)


American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Arlington, Virginia: American Psychiatric Association, 2013.

Bhargava D, Al Okbi MH, Al-Abri R, et al. Phenomenology and outcome of factitious disorders in otolaryngology clinic in Oman. The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 2007: 37(2): 229-240.

Dunlap, M.M., ed. "Munchausen Syndrome...Characteristics." Grown Up: A Newsletter for Those Who Care for Adolescents, Adults, and Aging Adults 18.4 Apr. 2013.

Ehrlich S, Pfeiffer E, Salbach H, Lenz K, Lehmkuhl U. Factitious disorder in children and adolescents: a retrospective study. Psychosomatics 2008 September-October; 49: 392-398.

Highland KB Flume PA. A story of a woman with cystic fibrosis. Chest 2002 May; 121(5): 1704-1707.

Jaghab K, Skodnek KB, Padder TA. Munchausen syndrome and other factitious disorders in children: case series and literature review. Psychiatry 2006 May; 3(5): 10-11.

Krahn LE, Li H, O'Connor MK. Patients who strive to be ill: Factitious disorder with physical symptoms. American Journal of Psychiatry 2003; 160: 1163-1168.

Lauwers R, De Winkel NV, Vanderbruggen N, Hubloue I. Munchausen syndrome in the emergency department mostly difficult, sometimes easy to diagnose: a case report and review of the literature. World Journal of Emergency Surgery 2009; 4: 38.

Libow JA. Child and adolescent illness falsification. Pediatrics 2000 February; 105 (2): 336-342.

Mehta N, Khan I. Cardiac Munchausen syndrome. Chest 2002; 122(5): 1649-1653.

Nordqvist C. What is Munchausen syndrome? What causes Munchausen syndrome? Medical News Today; 2009 October.

Stirling and Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. "Beyond Munchausen syndrome by proxy: identification and treatment of child abuse in a medical setting." Pediatrics 119 Oct. 2007: 1026-1030.

Tlacuilo-Parra JA, Guevara-Gutierrez E, Garcia-De La Torre I. Factitious disorders mimicking systemic lupus erythematosus. Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology 2000; 18: 89-93.

Turner MA, Phil M. Factitious disorders: Reformulating the DSM-IV criteria. Psychosomatics 2006 January-February; 47: 23-32.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/14/2015

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Depression Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors