Encyclopedia

Munchausen syndrome

Munchausen syndrome is a mental disorder characterized by the intentional staging, simulating or self-inflicted injury or illness, with the primary goal of other people treating the affected person as ill.

The syndrome is named after the German military baron von Munchausen, who while traveling talked about his imaginary exploits. At the beginning of the second half of the 20th century, Richard Ashton first used the term to describe the behavior of people walking from hospital to hospital, inventing various illnesses.

The term is often used interchangeably with malingering disorder. A malingering disorder is defined as any illness that is intentionally induced with the primary attraction of the sufferer being the sufferer.

The syndrome most accurately describes people who have a chronic malingering illness with predominantly physical symptoms, although mental symptoms are also reported in the literature.

What are the symptoms?

Those affected by the syndrome deliberately cause or exaggerate symptoms. They may lie about the existence of symptoms or induce clinical manifestations by causing damage to their own you are a body.

Sufferers of the syndrome may also try to alter test results by, for example, contaminating urine samples with biological material so that they appear ill. Signs and symptoms of the syndrome can be expressed in the following:

Dramatic history of severe illness, often with conflicting details about the health problem.
• Symptoms fit the diagnosis too perfectly or the lack of signs that be related to the patient’s complaints, for example, there are no signs of dehydration when the affected person complains of diarrhea and vomiting.
• Symptoms change or worsen after starting treatment.
• Willingness to undergo examinations, tests and research;
• Unwillingness to share with current doctor about previous specialists who have treated him or family and friends.
• Available at physical examination of many surgical scars.

What are the reasons?

The causes of the syndrome are unknown. Some researchers suggest that it represents a personality defense mechanism against sexual and aggressive impulses.

Others believe that it represents a form of self-punishment. Determining the exact cause is difficult because people with the syndrome are not open and honest about their condition, making scientific research on them almost impossible.

Treatment of Munchausen syndrome

Initially, medical care for people with the syndrome is aimed at relieving the reported symptoms and any injury done to cause the symptoms. Treatment is difficult because people are often reluctant to admit that they suffer from the mental disorder.

The attending physician must be very careful when ordering invasive diagnostic tests or surgery, but at the same time must try not to miss serious clinical conditions.

Medications to treat the syndrome can only be used if there are concomitant diseases or conditions.

Serotonin reuptake inhibitors may be helpful in people with this type of mental disorder who also often have co-occurring depression, or at least theoretically so.

It is possible to prescribe therapy with light doses of psychopathic, provided that the patient has a co-existing borderline personality disorder.

People with the syndrome can cause or develop true disease requiring surgery, but further surgery should be done with caution.

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