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 exist.
- 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 taking medicine.
- 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.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry|
|Last Revised||May 3, 2013|