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Glossary Entries

Definition of: 'Munchausen's Syndrome (and Munchausen's By Proxy) '
Collection: Mental Health

Munchausen's Syndrome is the popular name for what DSM-IV calls Factitious Disorder. Factitious Disorder is characterized by a person intentionally harming (e.g., poisoning, wounding, etc.) themselves, usually to gain the care of others by assuming the role of a sick person. In Factitious Disorder By Proxy, a person intentionally harms another person (often a minor child in his or her care), also presumably to gain access to the sick role and the attention that having someone be very sick brings. The recent movie, "The Sixth Sense" illustrated Factitious Disorder by Proxy in the character of a mother (dressed in red in the family scene towards the end of the movie) who poisoned her daughter repeatedly until she died.

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