Essay on Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy: Sick Kid or Sick Parent?(4)

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Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy: Sick Kid or Sick Parent?(4) In relating the details of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSBP), the initial reaction is usually shock, followed quickly by fascination. The reason for the latter is that the medical community has yet to make up their minds about what exactly MSBP is. The debate: psychiatric disorder v. child abuse. Essentially the arguments for both create a divide between the brain and behavior, though not relating the two. Munchausen Syndrome "is a condition manifest by persons feigning or inducing illness in themselves for no other apparent gain than adopting the sick role and thus exposing themselves to painful and sometimes damaging and disfiguring medical procedures (7)." The name of…show more content…
The perpetrator is often a parent and typically the mother. However, there have been cases where the father acts as perpetrator. The first reported case of MSBP with a male caretaker occurred in 1990 when a father complained to physicians that his newborn baby would often stop breathing, turn blue and have seizures. Following extensive evaluation of apnea, it was discovered that the father, himself was suffocating and shaking the baby (5). Perpetrators show an avid interest for hospital care and usually have experience in the medical field. Munchausen syndrome is present in 10% of such perpetrators (3). Munchausen syndrome and MSBP are included in the DSM-III R category of factitious disorders and therefore are elusive syndromes that are difficult to diagnose and recognize (2). "Because symptoms in factitious disorders are not connected with obvious gain, the absence of external gain suggests that factitious disorders like Munchausen syndrome serve some psychological need, but do so by maladaptive methods (2)." The syndrome is not recognized by the American Medical Association or the American Psychiatric Association (10). Lack of official recognition from the medical community has created an air of confusion around MSBP. Munchausen syndrome is decidedly a psychiatric disorder involving the patient assuming a role, but the reason for skepticism concerning MSBP is that is clearly a form of child abuse, as

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