Often pretends to be sick to get empathy for others, beware of Munchausen Syndrome!


Have you ever seen someone feign illness to gain empathy from another person? To the extent that a person fakes the symptoms they feel, makes their physical or facial expressions look like they are sick, to the point of falsifying the results of their health tests. This condition is known as Munchausen syndrome.

This condition should be watched out for, especially if someone is deliberately pretending to be sick with the main goal of getting empathy. Come on, let's get to know more about munchausen syndrome!

What is Munchausen Syndrome?

Quoted from the Better Health Channel, munchausen syndrome (also known as artificial disorder) is a rare type of mental disorder in which a person fakes an illness. The person may lie about their symptoms, make themselves appear sick, or intentionally make themselves unwell. This type of mental disorder is most commonly seen in young adults and is considered an act of self-harm.

A person with this syndrome does not feign illness for personal gain, such as prescription drugs or money. Instead, the person does so for complex psychological reasons, including a strong desire for attention and empathy for others.

Causes of Munchausen Syndrome

Doctors from the University of Michigan Health explained that this syndrome may be related to problems sufferers experienced during childhood. A person with munchausen syndrome often feels their life is out of control. They often have poor self-esteem and cannot cope with stress or anxiety.

In addition, other causes such as chronic illness suffered during childhood may allow the person to have received a lot of attention for his illness. As a result, they have difficulty distinguishing between reality and fantasy.

Not only that, the ability to lie and manipulate or have a history of mental problems such as depression, hallucinations or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also be the cause. Attention received from others such as doing chores, bringing food, or giving money can also encourage this behavior.

Can Munchausen Syndrome Be Treated?

Although a person with Munchausen syndrome actively seeks treatment for the various disorders they discover, the person often refuses to acknowledge and does not seek treatment for the syndrome themselves. This makes the healing process of someone with Munchausen syndrome very challenging and the prospects for recovery quite difficult.

The first goal of treatment for this condition is to change the person's behavior and reduce the abuse or overuse of medical resources. Once these goals are met, treatment aims to address any underlying psychological problems that may be causing the behavior.

The main treatment for munchausen syndrome is psychotherapy or talk therapy (a type of counseling). Treatment usually focuses on the individual's thinking and behavior (cognitive-behavioral therapy). You could say, Munchausen syndrome is a dangerous disease because of the risk of hurting yourself in an effort to get the attention and sympathy of others.

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