- Patient Comments: Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy - Experience
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- Munchausen syndrome by proxy facts
- What is Munchausen syndrome by proxy?
- What causes Munchausen syndrome by proxy? What are MSBP risk factors?
- What are Munchausen syndrome by proxy symptoms and signs?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose Munchausen syndrome by proxy? What types of specialists treat MSBP?
- What is the treatment for Munchausen syndrome by proxy?
- What are the complications of Munchausen syndrome by proxy? What is the prognosis of MSBP?
- Is it possible to prevent Munchausen syndrome by proxy?
- Where can one get more information on Munchausen syndrome by proxy?
What causes Munchausen syndrome by proxy? What are MSBP risk factors?
Although there is no specific cause for MSBP, like most other mental disorders, it is understood to be the result of a combination of biological vulnerabilities, ways of thinking, and social stressors (biopsychosocial model). Little is known about the specific biological vulnerabilities of individuals with MSBP. Psychologically, MSBP perpetrators tend to have trouble forming a healthy bond (attachment) with their children. Personality traits of individuals who have a history of inducing symptoms in the children they care for include trouble managing anger or frustration. Socially, those who feign or induce symptoms in others tend to have suffered from some sort of major negative event (trauma) during their own upbringing, including the death of a parent or other caretaker or having been themselves the victim of child abuse or neglect.
What are Munchausen syndrome by proxy symptoms and signs?
In the diagnostic manual that is recognized by most mental-health professionals, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, MSBP is classified as a somatic symptom and related disorder and is referred to as factitious disorder that is imposed by one individual on another.
Symptoms of MSBP include the sufferer being induced to experience physical or psychological symptoms or to have symptoms fabricated by another person, usually a caretaker. Specific symptoms in the victim are nearly as varied as the number of victims and perpetrators, with perhaps more emphasis on symptoms that are more feasibly manufactured or induced or are more difficult to measure objectively through laboratory tests (for example, stomach upset, other body aches and pains, and trouble breathing or sleeping). Some more common symptoms presented by victims of MSBP include suffocation, induced seizures, bleeding, or poisoning that presents as vomiting or diarrhea. The abusive parent may describe symptoms in their child that do not exist. The symptoms may get worse only when the suspected caretaker is present or recently visited and may improve when the perpetrator is absent. Theories on what motivates the adult who assumes the sick role by causing a child to be sick might fall into one of three categories of motivation: help seeking, active induction of symptoms, and "addiction" to interactions with doctors. The help seeker is thought to be motivated to fabricate or cause their child's symptoms as a way of getting help for him or herself, assuming the sick role through their association with the supposedly sick child. This may be due to their feeling overwhelmed by their adult relationship, parenthood, or their own physical or emotional problems. The parent who actively induces symptoms of MSBP in the victim is thought to be seeking control of the medical professionals, as well as wanting recognition as an excellent parent by the professionals. Perpetrators who seem to be addicted to doctors are thought to be motivated to be seen as knowing better than the doctors.