Munchausen syndrome is a certain type of mental disorder referred to as a factitious disorder. These disorders are different than other mental disorders because they seem to be, to a degree, self-inflicted—they are categorized as mental problems in which a patient acts as if they are struggling with a medical condition, either physical or mental, when they are not actually ill. Munchausen syndrome is still classified as a mental illness because the patients often experience serious emotional problems as a result of their behavior. The condition is named after Baron von Munchausen, a German officer who lived in the 1700s. Munchausen syndrome is the most intense and debilitating form of a factitious condition, and patients can experience psychosomatic symptoms as a result—they will develop actual physical and mental symptoms that can be observed as a result of placing themselves under physical and mental stress.
It’s important to note that while Munchausen syndrome usually refers to a sort of factitious illness that manifests as physical symptoms, in some cases, people will use the term to refer to any and all factitious illnesses. Whatever the case, people with Munchausen syndrome are known for overly exaggerating both physical and mental symptoms. The reasoning behind this can vary between different patients. They may pretend to have certain symptoms, develop emotional instability as a result, and thus manifest actual physical symptoms in turn.
If you think that one of your loved ones is struggling with Munchausen syndrome, it’s important to make sure that they are before deciding what to do. Check with a medical professional to identify the possibility of them actually suffering from an illness. Below are some of the most common symptoms of Munchausen syndrome. If you or a loved one are experiencing many of these symptoms, you may want to change your action plan and seek psychological help to identify the root cause of Munchausen syndrome.
Symptom #1: Inconsistent Medical History
Many patients with Munchausen syndrome are known for having a fairly intense but relatively inconsistent medical history. As they come to believe that they are suffering from various conditions and illnesses, these patients often seek medical help as quickly as they can. The doctors will record their complaints into their medical history.
Many people with Munchausen syndrome report that they’re experiencing one severe illness one week or month, and the next month report that they’re experiencing something entirely different. One of the reasons for this is the hypochondria that can be induced by reading descriptions and symptoms as detailed online on medical websites.