DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Munchausen (MOON-chow-zun) syndrome is a serious mental disorder in which someone with a deep need for attention pretends to be sick or gets sick or injured on purpose. People with Munchausen syndrome may make up symptoms, push for risky operations, or try to rig laboratory test results to try to win sympathy and concern.
Munchausen syndrome belongs to a group of conditions, called factitious disorders, that are either made up or self-inflicted. Factitious disorders can be psychological or physical. Munchausen syndrome refers to the most severe and chronic physical form of factitious disorder.
Munchausen syndrome is a mysterious and hard to treat disorder. However, medical help is critical for preventing serious injury and even death caused by the self-harm typical of Munchausen syndrome.
- Lipsitt DR. Factitious disorder and Munchausen syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Jan. 6, 2011.
- Factitious disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com/content.aspx?aID=9652. Accessed Jan. 6, 2011.
- Munchausen syndrome. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/sec15/ch204/ch204e.html. Accessed Jan. 6, 2011.
- McDermott BE, et al. Factitious disorders and malingering. In: Gabbard GO. Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2008. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Jan. 6, 2011.
- Ford CV. Factitious disorders and malingering. In: Ebert MH, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Psychiatry. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw Hill Medical; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3287516. Accessed Jan. 7, 2011.
- Eisendrath SJ. Factitious disorder (including Munchausen's syndrome). In: Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?sid=1102213041&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..00015-9--sc0010&isbn=978-0-323-05610-6&type=bookPage§ionEid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..00015-9--sc0010&uniqId=234252088-133#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..00015-9--sc0010. Accessed Jan. 7, 2011.