Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy has been characterized by its distinguishable behavior that meets the criteria of fictitious disorder according to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, text revision (DSM-IV-TR) (2000). Munchausen Syndrome affects many people that unconsciously expose themselves and their children to unnecessary abuse and maltreatment in attempts to gain attention by medical professionals, friends, and neighbors. The goal of clinicians and forensic professionals is to be able to effectively detect and assess individuals that maltreat their children hoping to treat these individuals and their families.
Table of Contents: Page: Text of Paper 4-11 Conclusion 13 References 14-15
Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy: What’s the Mystery?
Munchausen Syndrome is a rather new phenomenon that was developed first in 1951 by Dr. Richard Asher to classify an unexplainable behavior that seem to only affect adults which began as a random and indistinguishable problem within the healthcare system. This behavior had originated as being a behavior that affected adults however healthcare professionals began to notice that a trend was beginning to appear with this same type of behaviors affecting young child within their pediatric hospitals. Adult Munchausen Syndrome is characterized as the intentional and chronic pursuit of medical treatment by way of inflicting injury to themselves and/or the fabrication of illness or symptoms. This behavior is deliberately used to attract the attention of medical personal and elicit the concern of friends and family. The goal of an individual diagnosed with Munchausen Syndrome is to meet their unconscious pathological need to assume the sick role by way of fabricating or intentionally producing physical illnesses and/or psychological symptoms. These individuals will inflict themselves with serious pain to their body or limbs, inject themselves with chemicals or bacteria, and/or cause themselves to bleed enough to warrant themselves a trip to the emergency room. This intentional behavior is repeated over and over within the hospital sometimes requiring physicians to perform various types of operations until medical professionals become suspicious. When medical professionals start to ask questions and challenge the victims accounts of incidents they then move to a new hospital where the behaviors start back up. These types of behaviors fall under factitious disorder due to the perpetrators motivation and psychological need to gain medical attention through the fabrication of illnesses and symptoms. According to an article titled “Forensic Assessment of Illness Falsification, Munchausen by Proxy, and Factitious Disorder, NOS” (Sanders & Bursch, 2002) the authors explain that Munchausen Syndrome and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy had been added to the America Psychological Association (1994) Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, 4th ed. (DSM-IV) under the criterion of factitious disorder. The components of factitious disorder mimic the unconscious psychological need and physical motivations of Munchausen Syndrome and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy perpetrators. Ayoub, Alexander, Beck, Bursch, Feldman, Libow, Sanders, Schreier, and Yorker (2002) in their position paper titled “Definitional Issues in Munchausen by Proxy” explain that this problematic behavior require clinicians to be able to differentiate between the motivational factors and the clinical presentation of the behavior. In 1977, Dr. Roy Meadow classified intentional injury, harm, and/or maltreatment directed at a child as Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy....