Munchausen syndrome is a mental health disorder in which a person
intentionally produces physical or psychological symptoms of illness. A person
with Munchausen syndrome acts from a need to be cared for, which may be in
conflict with a distrust of health professionals.
The person may:
Claim that he or she has symptoms, when none
Produce false test results, such as by sticking a
thermometer in hot water to mimic a fever or by putting bacteria or something
else in laboratory test samples.
Self-inflict injuries, such as
cutting the skin.
Create symptoms, such as causing vomiting by
Say that symptoms are worse than they really
are, such as claiming to have severe pain or bleeding when a milder condition
is actually present.
Request surgical procedures.
Treatment primarily consists of counseling to prevent the affected
person from further self-harm and to stop providing unnecessary and potentially
harmful medical treatment.
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
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