Munchausen Syndrome

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#1
This is truly horrifying and as there was no Munchausens (whether by proxy or not) I thought it worth starting one.

Some resources:

www.whonamedit.com/doctor.cfm/1082.html

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Mom Accused Of Injecting Human Waste Into Daughter

Test Results Show IV Fluid Contained Substance Consistent With Fecal Matter

POSTED: 11:50 AM EST January 16, 2004
UPDATED: 12:59 PM EST January 16, 2004
INDIANAPOLIS -- A 33-year-old mother is accused of repeatedly injecting human waste into her 21-month-old daughter to get attention, according to a report.

Tracie L. Fleck, 33, of Highland was being held Thursday in the Marion County Jail on ,000 bond on 10 felony counts, including charges of aggravated battery and child neglect. Each count carries a penalty of from six to 20 years in prison and a ,000 fine.



Indianapolis police arrested Fleck after she was videotaped tampering with her 21-month-old daughter's IV tube in a room at the Riley Hospital for Children, according to a court affidavit.

Fleck may suffer from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a disorder in which people harm their own children in an attempt to get attention, said Dr. Roberta Hibbard, professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine and director of child protection programs at Riley.

Hospital officials became suspicious when the child continued to develop infections after receiving treatment. Doctors told police that Fleck had brought her daughter to the hospital 11 times beginning last March.

Two infectious-disease doctors traced the infection to the girl's IV tube and lab reports indicated the infection had resulted from fecal matter, according to court documents.

A hidden video camera was placed in the toddler's room on Jan. 8 and recorded Fleck placing a hand in her pocket and then both hands on the IV tube or pump, police said. It was not clear who put the camera in the room.

When questioned by investigators, Fleck said she had filled a syringe with baby formula, water and a drug being used to treat the child and twice used it to inject her daughter's IV, according to the affidavit.

Family and Social Services Administration spokesman Scott MacGregor said he could not comment on whether child protection workers were involved with the family.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.
http://www.local6.com/news/2770688/detail.html
 

stonedog3

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#2
Can't get my head around Munchausens....... I can rationally read about it and so one but it just won't go in.

Like trying to beleive the sun /won't/ come up tomorrow. Assuming you're in an appropriate latitude of course.


Kath
 

Imperial_Call

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#3
I think the name Munchausen's is confusing, I get the general idea of it being attention seeking to the extreme (either by self inflicting injury, or "proxy" injuring someone else like a relation) but then if you called it Attention Seeking it would sound a tad mundane ... oy mental illness, my head hurts
 
B

Breezilla

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#6
There seem to be so many cases of Munchausen by proxy that make the news, but very few cases of just Munchausen's. Or do we just not hear of them because they only involve one person? :confused:
 

stonedog3

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#7
You're breezilla... I suppose if it's just the one person then it's one person's medical case.... we hear when it becomes criminal.

is that it?


Kath
 
A

Anonymous

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#8
Munchaussen is when you do it to yourself. There are documented cases of people in hospital with incurable skin problems, who are found to be rubbing their skin with Brillo pads and caustic soda to cause the condition. I think skin problems are a favourite, because it's so easy to do. They have a good knowledge of medicine, and undergo unnecessary surgery, after persuading medical staff they have something life threatening. Hell, with the right drugs, you can fake a heart attack.

Munchaussen by Proxy is doing it to others. Which is, as far as I can see, dodgy ground. Mothers have been harming their children for centuries, for a multitude of reasons (for example). They are obviously in the best position to do it, and the attention they get is enormous. What about the family who faked their child's terminal cancer in order to get whip-rounds to pay for holidays etc? As mentioned on a previous thread, Shipman was beloved of the very community he preyed upon. Beverley Allit was beloved of the grieving parents whose children she was supposed to have nursed, but murdered.

This is what makes the whole SIDS such a minefield. You don't want to investigate a poor woman whose child has died through no fault of hers, but you don't want to let a possible infanticide go free. What do you do? Very, very difficult.
 

nikoteen1

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#9
I find it hard to admit to people i know, but i am a sufferer of munchausen syndrome if only to a mild degree, i dont feel that it can be explained only as "attention seeking" though, when i do it i do it for a number of reasons, sometimes just to get a trip to hospital sometimes to get out of a situation i dont enjoy.
i find the easiest method is the "epilectic fit" and now as i know what first aiders and medics look for i have become quite good at faking it (and by the way spotting other fakers). i dont feel proud of my condition and i know people will berate me for waisting nhs resources, but the fact is "munchies" is a mental condition and something i dont have total control of.
i have been taken to casualty 17 times and been admitted 6 times with my longest stay being 2 weeks.
 

carole

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#10
There have been stories of late of Prof Hawkins suffering from various 'accidental' (?) injuries, and some accuse his wife of suffering from Munchausen's by proxy.

Carole
 

PeniG

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#12
Originally posted by nikoteen
[Bi dont feel proud of my condition and i know people will berate me for waisting nhs resources, but the fact is "munchies" is a mental condition and something i dont have total control of.
i have been taken to casualty 17 times and been admitted 6 times with my longest stay being 2 weeks.
What you do have control of, however, is whether or not you seek help. If you're doing it this often, it must be interfering with your life and annoying the people around you. If you are self-aware enough to recognize the problem and the situations that trigger it, you are self-aware enough to seek and implement a solution. If you're brave enough to admit it here, then you're brave enough to find the correct level of treatment. Now would be a good time. After all, you don't have to tell anybody what kind of treatment you're getting. Tell 'em it's epilepsy.

Just think, it would mean going to the hospital and *not* wasting NHS resources. Isn't that a win/win?
 

nikoteen1

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#13
yes i know i should seek help but its funny i was going to add to the bottom of my last post the fact i thought it was strange that i had never been found out since all medical records are stored on computer files, they must know i am not really epilectic surely someone should have spotted a pattern? i should also add that when i fall i tend to aim for table tops or drinks glasses just to get cut and add to the effect, i have a few good scars now.
 
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#14
carole said:
There have been stories of late of Prof Hawkins suffering from various 'accidental' (?) injuries, and some accuse his wife of suffering from Munchausen's by proxy.
Yep it does seem that way. For more discussion people can go here:

http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=12810

I'll probably get it merged with this one eventually so that it doesn't get purged in a chat cull ;)

nikoteen: Interesting - it sounds a bit like self-harm but instead of obviously cutting yourself (or whatever) you are sort of faking an accident to make the injury more legitimate - what do you feel after you've injured yourself or is it more the attention from the doctors and nurses?

Emps
 

nikoteen1

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#15
if i do hurt myself it relieves some of the guilt of being in hospital, and now that i have discussed it i suppose it gets more of a reaction (attention seeking) from the people around me. i dont feel i am a self harmer though (you may feel differently) i dont feel self hate or low esteem in fact i have quite a good life apart from these episodes.
 
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#16
nikoteen: I suppose self-harm was the closest thing to it that I could think of but it doesn't really seem that close from what you say (I believe self-harmers can feel a 'release' like it is catahrtic in some way and they tend not to want to draw attention to themselves unless it gets out of control and leads to a suicide attempt). Thanks for being so open about it - a few questions if you don't mind:

1. When you say you do it to get out of awkward situations - how do you feel before you do it - like you want to run but you can't really?

2. Anything specific about the situations you find yourself in when it happens or any link in how you feel at the time?

3. When did it start and what triggered it (if anything)?

Emps
 

nikoteen1

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#17
my first episode was about 7 years ago, i was at work and things were not going very well, i just could not face being there anymore, i must admit i was pretty stressed at the time and didnt really feel very well, so my mind just seemed to find the easiest solution. "im ill i dont want to be here!...get worse !", problem solved, i got away from a bad situation just by falling down. but dont get me wrong to me this isnt play acting, its not a logical thought process on my behalf i do not have full control at the time, i cant stress that enough, its not a cowards way out, sure the beginning of the idea is in my head but then i just lose control of it and everything goes a bit screwy in the head dept.

when i do get injured i dont tend to feel the pain straight away its only a couple of days after that it all sinks in and starts hurting and then i feel such a prat and get guilt trips.

i havent ever told anybody this and its only writing this out now that seems to bring any sense to what i have done to myself, i read back what i have written and think shit , ............... thats me!
 

stu neville

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#18
I'm sure that while you feel better for sharing your problem, and believe me we don't think any the less of you for doing so (it's very brave), I think it's fair to say that you should really get professional, one-to-one help for this. While we are all obviously sympathetic because you feel this way, none of us (as far as I know) are really qualified to give you definitive advice or help you with what you recognise is a problem in your life - please, get some help, and then you can keep us updated on how you're progressing - we'll be glad to hear about it :).
 
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#19
What stu neville said ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

If you are falling against glass and table tops then there is always the possibility that you could easily fatally injure yourself (FT has shown people die from much less). Also you should seek help in case it escalates - if getting an actual injury 'authenticates' the 'attack' then clearly a more 'impressive' injury would be the way it would progress and that is pretty dangerous.

I'm also interested to here (in general terms) what a professional makes of it.

Good luck.

Emps
 

nikoteen1

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#20
thanks for your support, i cant promise anything , but coming on here and actually facing up to what i do may be a step in the right direction, i am going to talk to my doctor and i,ll see what he says, i,ll keep you posted as and when anything develops. thanks again for your support and for not judging me.
 
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Breezilla

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#22
What IS (are?) the exact criteria for Munchausen's? I know a few people who seem to have something like it... Everyone complains excessively now and then to get a little extra sympathy, but these few people seem to do it constantly and for no other purpose than having others pity or pay attention to them. (One of them to the degree of purposely making herself ill by not taking her medecine.) I don't know if it would qualify as Munchausen's, though. It seems to have stemmed from a period of time where they were getting a lot of attention for something, and are now trying to keep it up as they don't want to be ignored. :confused:


From what you've posted, Nikoteen, you don't seem at all like that. :) Good luck to you!
 

PeniG

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#23
Breezilla said:
What IS (are?) the exact criteria for Munchausen's? I know a few people who seem to have something like it... Everyone complains excessively now and then to get a little extra sympathy, but these few people seem to do it constantly
I've known a few (fortunately only a few) people with diagnosed mental ailments - a paranoid, a paranoid schizophrenic, a depressive, two alcoholics, an ADHD - plus the unfortunate gentleman who used to hang out on the street corner by my workplace arguing with the tree (we were all angry when new management forced him to move on. as he kept the gangs away and we all looked after him to our best ability) - and so far as my limited observation goes, few of the behaviors involved are outside the range of behavior exhibited by folks who have no diagnosable mental problems. The paranoid in fact was far more reasonable, most of the time, than most of the people I worked with. When she was diagnosed, she actually said: "Ah! That explains a lot!" and she was thereafter scrupulous in keeping up with her meds. She even told her friends the specific symptoms to watch for and to warn her when she started acting paranoid. These symptoms would have been normal behavior for the person I shared an office with at the time - failure to meet obligations, haste to shift blame, excessive defensiveness, I don't remember what else, but I remember noting the resemblance strongly at the time.

The primary difference, from a non-clinical point of view, appeared to be one of degree and controllability. We all have days when we feel lousy for no apparent reason, can't sleep and/or can't make ourselves get out of bed, feel certain that nothing we do is ever going to come out right, that everyone hates us, etc. A depressive has months and weeks and years of such days. "Snap out of it," people tell them, because when most of us feel lousy an act of will, forcing ourselves out of bed and into productivity, is effective; but a depressive has no snap. He is physically incapable of feeling hope.

From the outside, depression looks like laziness; Munchausen's like malingering; paranoia like refusal to take responsibility for one's own life. A schizophrenic with an agenda may be indistinguishable from a con man. Even those who devote their lives to dealing with mental problems have only a rudimentarly understanding of what's going on or the best approach to any individual case. We live in the alchemical age of mental health; treatments are available, but a lot of them are trial-and-error, all of them are most effective in the short term, and all of them rest on a diagnosis which is as much art as science.

But if you can't stop yourself from throwing yourself at glass tables to get out of unpleasant situations, alchemy is better than nothing. The people I know who get better, or at least go through periods of self-sufficiency, have done so by getting help and actively engaging in the cure process. Only the sufferer can mend the suffering; but no one ever cured himself alone, no matter how smart or determined or tough he was. You need a safe place to be sick in; access to new information, pharmaceuticals, and treatments; at least one exterior reality check you can trust; and someone to spot you and take the pills away when necessary.
 

nikoteen1

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#24
first of all a big thankyou to all the people who have been so supportive on here and by pm, just to let you know i have been to my GP and although he wasn't brilliant he has referred me to a psychiatrist (spelt right?) i am now waiting for an appointment.


i did feel a bit uneasy waiting to see the doctor and to be honest it put me in what i would call a high probability situation, but i stayed upright for a change and faced it (yay me).

i need a drink now , keep you posted.
 
A

Anonymous

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#25
Originally posted by Peni:
We live in the alchemical age of mental health; treatments are available, but a lot of them are trial-and-error, all of them are most effective in the short term, and all of them rest on a diagnosis which is as much art as science.

Very true, but it's worth it once the right answer is found allowing you to function again, speaking from experience.
 
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#29
nikoteen: And well done from me with going through with it - it must have been difficult given the nature of your affliction.

Good luck.

Emps
 

nikoteen1

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#30
its saturday 31st, i have just recieved an appointment through the post for feb 23rd. seems very close, i just stood and looked at the letter for what seemed to be ages and ages, i cant take it all in at the moment.i
 
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