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Psychology Glossary

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Munchausen Syndrome

Munchausen syndrome is a psychological disorder in which a person fakes illlness, disease, or trauma in order to receive attention and sympathy from others. People with Munchausen syndrome typically have histories of frequent hospitalizations and doctor visits. They also fabricate dramatic and improbable stories about their past in order to gain attention from others. Munchausen syndrome can also be manifested as Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSbP) in which the sufferer abuses another person (usually a child) in order to receive attention and sympathy. When diagnosing someone with Munchausen syndrome it is important to rule out hypochondria. Hypochondriacs actually believe that they are suffering from the fabricated illnesses while those with Munchausen syndrome are aware they are not actually sick but want the attention.

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