How Is Munchausen Syndrome Treated? continued...
As with other factitious disorders, the primary treatment for Munchausen syndrome is psychotherapy or talk therapy (a type of counseling). Treatment usually focuses on changing the thinking and behavior of the individual (cognitive-behavioral therapy). Family therapy may also be helpful in teaching family members not to reward or reinforce the behavior of the person with the disorder.
There are no medications to treat factitious disorders themselves. Medication may be used, however, to treat any related illness, such as depression or anxiety. The use of medications must be carefully monitored in people with factitious disorders due to the risk that the drugs may be used in a harmful way.
What Is the Outlook for People With Munchausen Syndrome?
People with Munchausen syndrome are at risk for health problems (or even death) associated with hurting themselves or otherwise causing symptoms. In addition, they may suffer from reactions or health problems associated with multiple tests, procedures, and treatments; and are at high risk for substance abuse and attempts at suicide
Because many people with factitious disorders deny they are faking or causing their own symptoms and will not seek or follow treatment, recovery is dependent on a doctor or loved one identifying or suspecting the condition in the person and encouraging them to receive proper medical care for their disorder and sticking with it.
Some people with Munchausen syndrome suffer one or two brief episodes of symptoms. In most cases, however, the disorder is a chronic, or long-term, condition that can be very difficult to treat.
Can Munchausen Syndrome Be Prevented?
There is no known way to prevent Munchausen syndrome.