Munchausen Syndrome Symptoms

(Also Known As: Factitious Disorder Symptoms, Munchausens Symptoms, Malingering Symptoms, Munchausen By Proxy Symptoms)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What Are The Symptoms of Munchausen Syndrome?

The signs and symptoms of Munchausen syndrome center on fabricating or making up an illness or injury. An individual suffering from this variety of factitious disorder will do anything to prevent the discovery of their deception, so it could be challenging to tell whether the symptoms are part of a serious mental disorder. 4

Munchausen syndrome is different from hypochondriasis. With the former, the individual is not sick but is just pretending. The latter, on the other hand, is preoccupied with the belief that they are sick. It is likewise distinguished from malingering, wherein an individual also fabricates their sickness for the purpose of getting out of their jobs, winning a claim, or getting financial gain. The symptoms of Munchausen syndrome include:

  • Dramatic accounts of several medical conditions
  • Frequent visits to the hospital
  • Vague or inconsistent symptoms
  • Worsening conditions for no apparent reason
  • Willingness to be subjected to different kinds of tests and dangerous procedures
  • Comprehensive understanding of medical concepts and diseases
  • Seeking treatment from various hospitals and consulting different doctors
  • Having few visitors during hospitalization
  • Not allowing health professionals to communicate with family or friends
  • The patient frequently asks for pain relievers or other medicines
  • Appearance of new or additional symptoms after a negative diagnosis
  • The symptoms manifests themselves only when the patient is by themselves or not undergoing observation
  • The symptoms fit a diagnosis but lack the signs that accompany the symptoms. For instance, the patient is complaining of diarrhea but is not dehydrated.

Since individuals with Munchausen syndrome have become masters of fabricating symptoms or illnesses or self-inflicting their own injuries, it is quite challenging for medical professionals to determine if the illness is real or made up. There are various methods that people with Munchausen syndrome make up symptoms or illnesses:

  • False Medical Histories. The individual suffering from Munchausen syndrome provides health care providers, doctors, Internet support groups, and their loved ones with fake claims, such as having cancer or HIV.
  • Fabricating Symptoms. They make up symptoms such as stomach pains, seizures, or passing out.
  • Self-Harm. They may self induce bacteria, gasoline, milk, or even feces. They cut or burn themselves. They take various medicines such as diabetes and chemotherapy medications.
  • Making Their Conditions Worse. They may interfere with the healing process by reopening cuts or aggravating their wounds.
  • Tampering. Patients with Munchausen syndrome would usually tamper with laboratory examinations by contaminating their urine samples with blood or other substances.

Could You Have Munchausen Syndrome?

Munchausen Syndrome Topics

Related Conditions

Factitious Disorder – Deliberate Feigning of Symptoms, Exaggeration of Medical Condition
Malingering – Faking of Symptoms with Obvious Incentive Benefits, Exaggeration of Medical Condition, Lying, Deception
Munchausen By Proxy - An Individual Fabricates Or Exaggerates an Illness of Another Individual, Usually a Child, In Order to Draw Attention Or Sympathy from Others