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Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy Is A Mental Illness And Form Of Child Abuse

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Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a mental illness and form of child abuse that claims the lives of 9% of its victims (Heffner, 2004). It is defined as, “a psychological disorder in which a parent, typically a mother, harms her child (as by poisoning), falsifies the child 's medical history, or tampers with the child 's medical specimens in order to create a situation that requires or seems to require medical attention” (Merriam-Webster, 1977). In most cases, the mother is the abuser and plagues the life of her child and/or children by making them ill in order to receive attention, affection, and love. They thrive on feeling important and needed, and feel accomplished when they succeed in making their child/children ill (Meadow, 1989). Munchausen syndrome by proxy was first recognized as such in 1977. The term “Munchausen” received its name from a fictional character, Baron Munchausen, who was loosely based on the real-life Munchausen who became somewhat of a celebrity for telling tall tales about his life as a soldier, hunter, and sportsman. The real Baron, Hieronymus Karl Friedrich von Münchhausen, received the nickname “The Baron of Lies” which inspired the name of the fictional character (Munchausen, 2015). Munchausen syndrome by proxy is closely related to Munchausen syndrome, in which an adult fabricates and exaggerates stories about themselves in order to be recognized as ill or in pain; However, in a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, the mother is
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