Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MSP) -- or Munchausen by proxy -- is a psychological disorder marked by attention-seeking behavior by a caregiver through those who are in their care.
MSP is a relatively rare behavioral disorder. It affects a primary caretaker, often the mother. The person with MSP gains attention by seeking medical help for exaggerated or made-up symptoms of a child in his or her care. As health care providers strive to identify what's causing the child's symptoms, the deliberate actions of the mother or caretaker can often make the symptoms worse.
By Maggy Howe
The rejuvenating effects of chamomile.
I am sorry to say that Peter was not very well during the evening. His mother put him to bed, and made some camomile tea; and she gave a dose of it to Peter! "One tablespoon to be taken at bed-time." --The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter
Dear Peter Rabbit and his troublesome antics! It took more than his mother's reprimands to calm him down after his harrowing experience in Mr. McGregor's garden. It was the gentle...
The person with MSP does not seem to be motivated by a desire for any type of material gain. While health care providers are often unable to identify the specific cause of the child's illness, they may not suspect the mother or caretaker of doing anything to harm the child. In fact the caregiver often appears to be very loving and caring and extremely distraught over her child's illness.
People with MSP may create or exaggerate a child's symptoms in several ways. They may simply lie about symptoms, alter tests (such as contaminating a urine sample), falsify medical records, or they may actually induce symptoms through various means, such as poisoning, suffocating, starving, and causing infection.
What Are the Symptoms of Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy?
Certain characteristics are common in a person with MSP, including: