Munchausen by proxy (also called “factitious disorder imposed on another”) is a psychological condition where the caregiver (could be a parent, nurse, babysitter, etc.) inflicts violence or causes illness in the person under their care. People who suffer from Munchausen by proxy syndrome seek attention and praise and seek to achieve them by torturing and then ‘saving’ the people who are under their care. The victims could be children and even elderly people. A mother suffering from this syndrome may target her own children and even kill them. The case of Tanya Reid is well known in the USA. Tanya suffered from MSBP and killed her own daughter Morgan in 1984. Tanya used to suffocate and then resuscitate her daughter under the pretense of saving her life, and earn praise from doctors and paramedics. Lying and manipulating others are also traits of people suffering from this condition.
One of the key things to watch out for is that the victim falls ill only when he/she is under the care of the caregiver suffering from MSBP. No injury, illness, or medical conditions occur when someone else is caring for the victim or when the caregiver is being closely monitored.
People who suffer from Munchausen by proxy may display the following signs:
- They are often trained medical staff such as nurses and know about diseases, infections, and medical conditions.
- Try to get friendly with doctors and other medical staff.
- Even when they are caught, they deny any wrongdoing and feel no remorse.
- Parents with this syndrome often educate themselves on various diseases and medical conditions and how to cause them.
- Lie about the victim’s symptoms—many victims are children.
- The caregiver often changes doctors and lies about previous treatments.
When the victim shows repeated symptoms for no reason and also shows no signs of improvement, it is quite possible that they are a target of a caregiver with MSBP. Also, it is best to examine other people who have been under the supervision of the caregiver. Perhaps other children in the family have also suffered from similar symptoms. If you suspect that your loved one’s caregiver suffers from MSBP, take no chances and get a new caregiver. MSBP is a psychological condition that needs prolonged treatment and counseling, and so is unlikely to disappear soon in the person. Even after treatment, there is no guarantee that the person has been cured. Emotions and forgiveness have no place when you are dealing with a person with MSBP. Your laxity can cause the deaths of several people, including children. Click here for a good book on this subject.