November 30, 2015
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Munchausen Syndrome (cont.)

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What causes Munchausen syndrome?

Although there is no specific cause for Munchausen syndrome, like most other mental disorders, it is understood to be the result of a combination of biological vulnerabilities, ways of thinking, and social stressors (biopsychosocial model). Little is known about the specific biological vulnerabilities from which individuals with Munchausen syndrome are more likely to suffer. Psychologically, sufferers of this mental illness tend to have an increased need for control, an imbalance in the level of self-esteem (either low or excessively high), and a vulnerability to suffering from depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. Personality traits of individuals who have a history of feigning or inducing symptoms in themselves include some that are in common with borderline personality disorder (for example, if the person is dissociative or has another disturbance in their identity/sense of self; unstable relationships, recurrent self-mutilation, and/or recurrent thoughts or attempts at suicide) or antisocial personality disorder (for example, a tendency to lie, disregard the safety of themselves or others, and to have little empathy for others). Risk factors for people with Munchausen syndrome include enduring a major negative event (trauma) during their own childhood (such as a serious illness of themselves, a close family member or friend), having a grudge against the medical profession or having been themselves the victim of neglect, physical or sexual abuse, or other forms of maltreatment during childhood.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/21/2014


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