What is Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy?

11_0043_Layer 59

munchausen syndrome by Proxy is a form of child abuse in which the parent will either fake or create an illness in their child, and then present the child for medical care. Mother’s are generally most likely to perpetrate this. She may appear to be a model mother, and give a detailed history when presenting the child. However, when the medical establishment finds negative results, the parent often becomes angry and belligerent. Not only are they willing to allow their children to undergo invasive diagnostic procedures, they may actually encourage it.

There are three types of parents who perpetrate Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. The first are the active inducers who act to actually cause symptoms of illness in their children, the more dramatic the better. This generally occurs with infants and young children. The second type is the doctor addict, who insists on attempting to gain medical attention for their children, for nonexistent illnesses. They are convinced there is an illness despite continual negative findings. They report false histories and symptom soften. These parents generally perpetrate this on school-age children. The last type is the illness exaggerator. These parents are similar to doctor addicts with the exception being that there is a documented mild illness that they exaggerate as much as possible.

Derek Wood is a Nationally Board Certified Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse, and holds a Master's degree in Psychology. His experience in the online arena of mental health can be traced back to 1997, when he was a host for Online Psych on AOL. He joined Get Mental Help, Inc. as Clinical Content Director for Mental Health Matters. Derek, with his wife Lisa, developed the original version of psychTracker (then called A Mood Journal), after his diagnosis with Schizo-Affective Bipolar, when they could not find a system available that was robust enough to help him effectively manage his symptoms and accurately interpret his charting. Derek has worked in the field of mental health since 2001, as a Unit Manager of an adult long-term treatment facility, a charge nurse in an adolescent short-term inpatient facility and long-term residential facility, and as a School Psychologist. He has also written several articles which are being used as CEU for nurses and educators.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *