Munchausen by Proxy – The Facts You Need To Know! (Part 1)

September 7, 2017 Abuse and Neglect Attorney
Stuffed animal with band aid
Not every Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy case is what it looks like.

If you’ve ever seen Proxy, A Child’s Cry for Help or Sixth Sense, or read the best seller Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, then you’re familiar with ‘Munchausen by Proxy‘ as a psychological condition. Granted, you’ve probably seen the Hollywood version, which is often over-dramatized and altered under the guise of creative license. But nevertheless, the reality is no less frightening. However, if you are going to understand this illness, there are some important facts you need to know.

  1. Know the difference:

Munchausen syndrome, also sometimes called Factitious Disorder, is not the same thing as Munchausen by Proxy disorder. Munchausen syndrome refers to a disorder where someone harms themselves, whereas Munchausen by Proxy refers to harming someone else, usually a child, under your care. Both are classified as somatic symptom (and related) disorders.

  • According to the Mayo Clinic ‘Factitious disorder’ is a serious mental disorder in which someone deceives others by appearing sick, by purposely getting sick, or by self-injury. Factitious disorder symptoms can range from mild (slight exaggeration of symptoms) to severe (previously called Munchausen syndrome).”
  • Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is different. It’s a relatively rare form of child abuse that involves the exaggeration or fabrication of illnesses or symptoms by a primary caretaker. Although not a formal medical or psychiatric diagnosis, Munchausen by Proxy refers to ‘a parent or caregiver’s attempt to fabricate evidence of a child’s illness, or induce the symptoms in the child themselves.
  1. Understand the categories:

Parents who abuse via Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy are often put into one of two classifications. One of these categories is listed as “inducers”  while the other is called “fabricators.”  

  • “Inducers” means those who directly cause the child’s illness themselves
  • “Fabricators” are those who exaggerate their child’s symptoms in order to get medical attention and unnecessary treatments.
  1. Facts about the illness:

Although not everyone who suffers from Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome (MBPS) has the same personal history and life experience, there are certain common themes that medical professionals have noticed. For example:

  • It is usually women who suffer from the disorder. This is assumed to be the case because women are usually the primary caregivers of children.
  • Many perpetrators of MSBP are known to also suffer from depression, anxiety, and some personality disorders.
  • Perpetrators are more likely to have a history of either losing a parent, or being abused or neglected as a child.
  • Perpetrators usually have trouble forming a healthy attachment to their children, along with difficulty managing anger and frustration, and the ability to overcome a parent’s natural tendency to protect their children.

Join us next time, when we will be looking at how doctors and CPS workers sometimes accuse caring parents of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. Until then, please know that here at The Kronzek Firm, we understand how difficult this type of situation is for parents. If they really are suffering from a mental disorder, then they need psychiatric help and compassionate understanding.But if they’re being falsely accused of harming a child, then they are in need of an aggressive defense attorney that will fight to protect their parental rights. Either way, we are here to help you. Call our offices day or night at 866-346-5879. An attorney is standing by 24/7 to discuss your case.