Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy usually involves the mother. A mother will make the child seem sick by adding blood to the child's urine or stool, lie about fevers, withhold food, secretly give the child medications to induce vomiting or diarrhea, or other tactics to make the child appear ill. The child is often hospitalized with symptoms that don't fit classic disease findings.
The mother who is most helpful at the hospital, is elated because the nursing staff praises her for the way she cares for her child. Because she is so helpful, she has easier access to her child, and the symptoms are made to continue. The hospital staff never witnesses acute changes in the child’s physical exam and vital signs, yet the symptoms almost always occur in presence of the mother.
Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy is not an intentional type of abuse. It stems from the psychological problems in the adult, and is an attention-seeking behavior! Munchausen Syndrome can be life threatening for the child because the mother’s behavior can intensify.
It is up to families, friends, and doctors to recognize Munchausen Syndrome in order to prevent continued abuse and unnecessary, and possibly dangerous medical testing. If Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy goes unidentified, the child can die.
As soon as Munchausen Syndrome is recognized, the parent must be confronted and offered help. Never accuse the parent. Munchausen Syndrome is a form of child abuse and must be reported to the authorities. The parent should receive psychiatric counseling, yet it is often a difficult disorder to treat and can take years of psychiatric treatment.
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