Munchausen's Syndrome by Proxy

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Lucifers Angel
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Lucifers Angel
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October 31st, 2006 at 09:41am
I dont know if any of you have heard about this sickness, but i know people who have been victims of it and been the abuser, here is more on the subject.

By the time she was 8 years old, J.B. had been hospitalized 200 times and had undergone more than 40 operations, including the removal of most of her intestines.

K.C., a 2-year-old boy, was hospitalized more than 20 times due to complications from asthma, severe pneumonia, mysterious infections, and sudden fevers. His doctors were baffled and unable to determine the cause of these illnesses.

What do these seemingly unrelated cases have in common? They were the result of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome (MBPS), or Factitious Disorder by Proxy, as it's listed in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition, Text Revision, also known as DSM-IV-TR).

This relatively uncommon condition involves the exaggeration or fabrication of illnesses or symptoms by a primary caretaker. One of the most harmful forms of child abuse, Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome was named after Baron von Munchausen, an eighteenth-century German dignitary known for telling outlandish stories.

J.B.'s medical history was traced to her mother, who manufactured her daughter's illnesses. Similarly, when K.C. was thought to have AIDS, he eventually complained to his mother's friend that his thigh was sore because "Mommy gave me shots" (indicating that the mother was giving her son something to cause his symptoms).

What Is Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome?
In MBPS, an individual - usually a mother - deliberately makes another person (most often his or her own preschool child) sick or convinces others that the person is sick. The parent or caregiver misleads others into thinking that the child has medical problems by lying and reporting fictitious episodes. He or she may exaggerate, fabricate, or induce symptoms. As a result, doctors usually order tests, try different types of medications, and may even hospitalize the child or perform surgery to determine the cause.

Typically, the perpetrator feels satisfied when he or she has the attention and sympathy of doctors, nurses, and others who come into contact with him or her and the child. Some experts believe that it isn't just the attention that's gained from the "illness" of the child that drives this behavior, but there is satisfaction gained by the perpetrator in being able to deceive individuals that they consider to be more important and powerful than themselves.

Because the parent or caregiver appears to be so caring and attentive, often no one suspects any wrongdoing. A perplexing aspect of the syndrome is the ability of the parent or caregiver to fool and manipulate doctors. Frequently, the perpetrator is familiar with the medical profession and is very good at fooling the doctors. Even the most experienced doctors can miss the meaning of the inconsistencies in the child's symptoms. It's not unusual for medical personnel to overlook the possibility of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome because it goes against the belief that a parent or caregiver would never deliberately hurt his or her child.

Children who are subject to Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome are typically preschool age, although there have been reported cases in children up to 16 years old. There are equal numbers of boys and girls, however, 98% of the perpetrators are female. Diagnosis of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome is very difficult, but would involve some of the following:

a child who has multiple medical problems that don't respond to treatment or that follow a persistent and puzzling course
physical or laboratory findings that are highly unusual, don't correspond with the child's medical history, or are physically or clinically impossible
short-term symptoms that tend to stop when the perpetrator isn't around
a parent or caregiver who isn't reassured by "good news" when test results find no medical problems, but continues to believe that the child is ill
a parent or caregiver who appears to be medically knowledgeable or fascinated with medical details or appears to enjoy the hospital environment
a parent or caregiver who's unusually calm in the face of serious difficulties with the child's health
a parent or caregiver who's highly supportive and encouraging of the doctor, or one who is angry and demands further intervention, more procedures, second opinions, or transfers to more sophisticated facilities
What Causes Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome?
In some cases, the parents or caregivers themselves were abused, both physically and sexually, as children. They may have come from families in which being sick was a way to get love. The parent's or caregiver's own personal needs overcome his or her ability to see the child as a person with feelings and rights, possibly because the parent or caregiver may have grown up being treated like he or she wasn't a person with rights or feelings.

Other theories say that Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome is a cry for help on the part of the parent or caregiver, who may be experiencing anxiety or depression or have feelings of inadequacy as a parent or caregiver of a young child. Some may feel a sense of acknowledgement when the child's doctor confirms their caregiving skills. Or, the parent or caregiver may just enjoy the attention that the sick child - and, therefore, he or she - gets.

The suspected person may also have symptoms similar to the child's own medical problems or an illness history that's puzzling and unusual. He or she frequently has an emotionally distant relationship with his or her spouse, who often fails to visit the seriously ill child or have contact with doctors.

What Happens to the Child?
In the most severe instances, parents or caregivers with Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome may go to great lengths to make their children sick. When cameras were placed in some children's hospital rooms, some perpetrators were filmed switching medications, injecting children with urine to cause an infection, or placing drops of blood in urine specimens. One mother was taped injecting nail polish remover into her daughter's feeding tube. Another suffocated a child to the point of unconsciousness, then frantically rushed him to medical personnel for attention.

Some perpetrators aggravate an existing problem, such as manipulating a wound so that it doesn't heal. One parent discovered that scrubbing the child's skin with oven cleaner would cause a baffling, long-lasting rash.

Whatever the course, the child's symptoms - whether created or faked - don't happen when the parent isn't present, and they usually go away during periods of separation from the parent. When confronted, the parent usually denies knowing how the illness occurred.

According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition, Text Revision), some of the most common conditions and symptoms that are created or faked by parents or caregivers with Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome include: failure to thrive, allergies, asthma, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and infections.

The long-term prognosis for these children depends on the degree of damage created by the perpetrator and the amount of time it takes to recognize and diagnose Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome. Some extreme cases have been reported in which children developed destructive skeletal changes, limps, mental retardation, brain damage, and blindness from symptoms caused by the parent or caregiver. Often, these children require multiple surgeries, each with the risk for future medical problems.

If the child lives to be old enough to comprehend what's happening, the psychological damage can be significant. The child may come to feel that he or she will only be loved when ill and may, therefore, help the parent try to deceive doctors, using self-abuse to avoid being abandoned by his or her mother. And so, some victims of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome later become perpetrators themselves.

Getting Help for the Child
If Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome is suspected, health care providers are required by law to report their concerns. However, after a parent or caregiver is charged, the child's symptoms may increase as the person who is accused attempts to prove the presence of the illness. If the parent or caregiver repeatedly denies the charges, the child should be removed from the home and legal action should be taken on the child's behalf.

In some cases, the parent or caregiver may deny the charges and move to another location, only to continue the behavior. Even if the child is returned to the perpetrator's custody while children's protective services are still involved, the child may continue to be a victim of abuse. For these reasons, it's always advised that these cases be resolved quickly.

Getting Help for the Parent or Caregiver
Most often, abusive Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome cases are resolved in one of three ways:

the perpetrator is apprehended
the perpetrator moves on to a younger child when the original victim gets old enough to "tell"
the child dies
To get help, the parent or caregiver must admit to the abuse and seek psychological treatment. But if the perpetrator doesn't admit to the wrongdoing, psychological treatment has little chance of remedying the situation. Psychotherapy depends on truth, and Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome perpetrators generally live in denial.



so tell me what you think, i have become interested in the subject since i was a victim of a mum who has the disorder
lyrical_mess
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lyrical_mess
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Mibba Blog
October 31st, 2006 at 11:14am
That is interesting, appalling, and disgusting. It's actually pretty creepy. But stuff like that does happen, and it's hard to deny it.

So you were the abuser? Like, you...made your child sick? Wow. I'm very sorry to hear that, but at the same time, it's reassuring that you faced your problem and are no longer (no offense) deranged and scary.
Lucifers Angel
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Lucifers Angel
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October 31st, 2006 at 01:04pm
lyrical_gaah52:
That is interesting, appalling, and disgusting. It's actually pretty creepy. But stuff like that does happen, and it's hard to deny it.

So you were the abuser? Like, you...made your child sick? Wow. I'm very sorry to hear that, but at the same time, it's reassuring that you faced your problem and are no longer (no offense) deranged and scary.


no i was NOT the abuser i was the victim of the disoder. i guess i shouldve worded it better. my fault.
rollerpig
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November 6th, 2006 at 10:57am
Lucifers Angel:


What Happens to the Child?
In the most severe instances, parents or caregivers with Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome may go to great lengths to make their children sick. When cameras were placed in some children's hospital rooms, some perpetrators were filmed switching medications, injecting children with urine to cause an infection, or placing drops of blood in urine specimens. One mother was taped injecting nail polish remover into her daughter's feeding tube. Another suffocated a child to the point of unconsciousness, then frantically rushed him to medical personnel for attention.

Some perpetrators aggravate an existing problem, such as manipulating a wound so that it doesn't heal. One parent discovered that scrubbing the child's skin with oven cleaner would cause a baffling, long-lasting rash.

Uh, reading that all it's horrible ._.

I saw some mother on TV, she kept shaving her daughter's head, pretending she had cancer..

I think it's really scary.
bratbassist
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November 6th, 2006 at 11:44am
I think that is appualing, doing that to your child. Your supposed to nurture children.
What if your kid dies during surgery, for a fake illness. how would the person who did this feal then?
Lucifers Angel
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November 7th, 2006 at 05:13am
keyboard not found:
I think that is appualing, doing that to your child. Your supposed to nurture children.
What if your kid dies during surgery, for a fake illness. how would the person who did this feal then?


they would feel "see i told you there was somthing with him/her" i am its an illness and the children need to be protected before anything else, in my case i had what they called nose treatments, (for certains i wont put what they were here but i will answer any PM's asking what they were) and was given medication for illnesses that i never knew exsisited.
Anji
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November 7th, 2006 at 11:17am
Seems like a mental illness to me. Any parents who does that should be put in an asylum. It's only safer for them and the child.
Kurtni
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Kurtni
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Mibba Blog
November 7th, 2006 at 06:00pm
Unless you wrote that, you need to post a link siting your source, please. Fizz
Matt Smith
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Mibba Blog
November 8th, 2006 at 12:29pm
The document an be found here:
http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/system/ill/munchausen.html
Lucifers Angel
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Lucifers Angel
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November 8th, 2006 at 12:41pm
Bloodraine:
The document an be found here:
http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/system/ill/munchausen.html


thanks Bloodraine, Very Happy
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