Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a mental illness and a form of child abuse. The caretaker of a child, most often a mother, either makes up fake symptoms or causes real symptoms to make it look like the child is sick.
Factitious disorder by proxy; Child abuse - Munchausen
No one is sure what causes Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Sometimes, the person was abused as a child or has Munchausen syndrome (fake illness for themselves).
The caretaker can do extreme things to fake symptoms of illness in the child. For example, the caretaker may:
What are signs in a caretaker?
What are signs in a child?
The child needs to be protected. They may need to be removed from the direct care of the caretaker in question.
Children may require medical care to treat complications from injuries, infections, medicines, surgeries, or tests. They also need psychiatric care to deal with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder that can happen with child abuse.
Treatment most often involves individual and family therapy. Because this is a form of child abuse, the syndrome must be reported to the authorities.
Danya Glaser is in London, United Kingdom. Glaser is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. She is also highly rated in 1 other condition, according to our data. Her top area of expertise is Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.
Biswa Mishra is in Bhubaneshwar, India. Mishra is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. They are also highly rated in 1 other condition, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, Schizophrenia, Absence Seizure, and Generalized Tonic-Clonic Seizure.
Maria Burton is in Sheffield, United Kingdom. Burton is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. She is also highly rated in 2 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, Testicular Torsion, Breast Cancer, and Swimmer's Ear.
If you think a child is being abused, contact a provider, the police, or child protective services.
Call 911 or the local emergency number for any child in immediate danger because of abuse or neglect.
You can also call this national hotline. Crisis counselors are available 24/7. Interpreters are available to help in 170 languages. The counselor on the phone can help you figure out the next steps. All calls are anonymous and confidential. Call Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).
Recognition of Munchausen syndrome by proxy in the child-parent relationship can prevent continued abuse and unnecessary, expensive, and possibly dangerous medical testing.
There is no recent research available for this condition. Please check back because thousands of new papers are published every week and we strive to find and display the most recent relevant research as soon as it is available.
Published Date: August 10, 2021
Published By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
Byrne R, Kirschner K. Unusual behaviors. In: Kliegman RM, Lye PS, Bordini BJ, Toth H, Basel D, eds. Nelson Pediatric Symptom-Based Diagnosis. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 27.
Carrasco MM, Wolford JE. Child abuse and neglect. In: Zitelli BJ, McIntire SC, Nowalk AJ, eds. Zitelli and Davis' Atlas of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 6.
Dubowitz H, Lane WG. Abused and neglected children. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 16.
Lindberg D. Child abuse. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 177.