Munchausen 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.
• Munchausen 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 in their effort 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.
• Although it has been recognized for centuries, Munchausen syndrome remains mysterious and difficult to treat. Medical help is critical, however, to preventing serious injury and even death that can result from the self-harm typical of Munchausen syndrome.
• Risk factors for developing Munchausen syndrome include childhood traumas and growing up with caretakers who, through illness or emotional problems, were unavailable. Arrhythmogenic Munchausen syndrome describes individuals who simulate or stimulate cardiac arrhythmias to gain medical attention.