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3.12. MBPS = Munchausen by proxy syndrome

While many of us will try every wikihow home remedy before visiting a doctor, some patients make themselves sick or fabricate symptoms just because.

A Munchausen's patient may self-medicate to create symptoms due to a desire to be seen as ill or injured. The patient might even undergo risky procedures and surgeries in order to receive the full experience of serious illness.

Nowadays called "factitious disorder," this mental illness was named after the fictional Baron van Munchausen, an 18th century German nobleman known for embellishing the stories of his life and experiences. Tall tales of symptoms, induced or made-up, send doctors on a wild goose chase for differential diagnoses. Factitious disorder may be self-imposed or imposed on others. The latter's a terrifying syndrome, "Munchausen by proxy," made somewhat famous by the entertainment industry.

In Munchausen by proxy, a caregiver or parent causes symptoms in a child through medication, poisoning, or other forms of abuse. The proxy/perpetrator comes across caring and loving, and may be knowledgeable about the health profession and appears to take excellent care of a truly sick child--except in reality the child is sick because of the proxy. Like Mother Gotham locking Rapunzel up in a tower, the Munchausen parent keeps the patient weak, sick, and powerless. No, Mother does not know best.
Perhaps one of the most valuable skills in life is critical thinking--to question and reconsider everything constantly. Parents would never do anything to hurt their kids? Never say never. At a certain point in life (and in today's world), almost nothing is certain. We just try our best to do the right thing every chance we have.


  1. Have you read Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects?

    1. I want to, even though the plot's already been spoiled for me by the HBO show of the same name (based on Flynn's book)!


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