Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dying But Not Sick

This blog is sometimes for fun and sometimes for education.  Today is educational.  There is a mental disorder called Munchausen where the person believes he or she is dying, although there are not physical illnesses.  Some research revealed a very interesting article.  I am sharing part of it here with you.

Münchausen syndrome

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Munchausen syndrome)
Münchausen syndrome is a term for psychiatric disorders known as factitious disorders wherein those affected feign disease, illness, or psychological trauma in order to draw attention or sympathy to themselves. It is also sometimes known as hospital addiction syndrome or hospital hopper syndrome. Nurses sometimes refer to them as frequent flyers, because they return to the hospital just like frequent flyers return to the airport. However, there is discussion to reclassify them as somatoform disorder in the DSM-5 as it is unclear whether or not people are conscious of drawing attention to themselves.[1]
Münchausen syndrome is related to Münchausen syndrome by proxy (MSbP/MSP), which refers to the abuse of another being, typically a child, in order to seek attention or sympathy for the abuser.

In Münchausen syndrome, the affected person exaggerates or creates symptoms of illnesses in themselves to gain investigation, treatment, attention, sympathy, and comfort from medical personnel. In some extreme cases, people suffering from Münchausen's syndrome are highly knowledgeable about the practice of medicine and are able to produce symptoms that result in lengthy and costly medical analysis, prolonged hospital stay and unnecessary operations. The role of "patient" is a familiar and comforting one, and it fills a psychological need in people with Münchausen's. It is distinct from hypochondriasis in that patients with Münchausen syndrome are aware that they are exaggerating, whereas sufferers of hypochondriasis believe they actually have a disease. Risk factors for developing Münchausen syndrome include childhood traumas, and growing up with caretakers who, through illness or emotional problems, were unavailable. Arrhythmogenic Münchausen syndrome describes individuals who simulate or stimulate cardiac arrhythmias to gain medical attention.[2]

Medical professionals suspecting Münchausen'ss in a patient should first rule out the possibility that the patient does indeed have a disease state, but it is in an early stage and not yet clinically detectable. Providers need to acknowledge that there is uncertainty in treating suspected Münchausen patients, so that real diseases are not under-treated.[6] Then they should take a careful patient history, and seek medical records, to look for early deprivation, childhood abuse, mental illness. If a patient is at risk to himself or herself, inpatient psychiatric hospitalization should be initiated.[7]
Medical providers should consider working with mental health specialists to help treat the underlying mood or disorder as well as to avoid countertransference.[8] Therapeutic and medical treatment should center on the underlying psychiatric disorder: a mood disorder, an anxiety disorder or borderline personality disorder. The patient's prognosis depends upon the category under which the underlying disorder falls; depression and anxiety, for example, generally respond well to medication and/or cognitive behavioral therapy, whereas borderline personality disorder, like all personality disorders, is presumed to be pervasive and more stable over time,[9] thus offers the worst prognosis.

Tomorrow we will look at the difference in Munchausen and Hypochondria
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