The well-known German Baron von Münchhausen brilliantly managed to gain recognition and sympathy with his invented stories. Even patients who suffer from the Munchausen syndrome try to gain attention. The modern "lying barons" are incredibly believable in faking diseases and thus gaining compassion, treatment, hospitalization.
Simulation of a disease
The Munchausen syndrome is a severe mental illness, which usually occurs in connection with a disturbed, neurotic personality development. Very little is known about the causes. As imaginative as Münchhausen decorated his stories, these patients can convince with their illnesses.
The patients simulate symptoms and diseases that they know surprisingly well. They manipulate temperature measurements and laboratory results and use a variety of tricks to convince doctors of their illness. They enrich their urine with sugar or blood to simulate diabetes or kidney disease. They go as far as getting their skin off to pretend to be a skin condition or swallow medication and venom to cause bowel or heart impairment.
What are the consequences?
Patients' self-inflicted injuries include the side effects and dangers of the physician-initiated diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. In order to clarify the "emergencies" presented, abdominal and lung reflections are performed, bladder or cardiac catheter are placed or the patient is placed on the operating table and the abdomen is opened with the suspected appendicitis.
Another danger is that real-world diseases are not taken seriously in a patient with a known Munchausen syndrome - much like the young sheepfold, who twice frightened his village with the warning of the wolf, only to the third To stand alone with the wolf because no one took his screams seriously anymore.
Just as Munchausen patients do not leave no stone unturned to force hospitalization, so they are on the alert not to be exposed: they prefer to introduce themselves at night in the emergency room, if no files can be obtained, showing their history. They usually disappear quickly and secretly before anyone could make the suspected diagnosis. They change doctors and hospitals to avoid being recognized.
Is there a therapy?
The only option is psychological care. However, it can be difficult to treat such patients, as their subjective suffering can be very low and they therefore escape treatment.