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24 May 2006 @ 10:23 pm
Getting a clue  
You can find a therapist for just about any issue these days but for some reason, Munchausen Syndrome seems to be an exception. Hanging out on a mailing list for those with Munchausen (to talk about my Munchausen by proxy abuse experience) I keep hearing how hard it is to find a mental health professional with knowledge and experience working with clients who have this illness. One person went to a psychiatrist today and all he knew about Munchausen's syndrome was what he learned from an internet encyclopedia entry. For this she spent two hundred bucks.

I don't expect every MFCC to know about Munchausen but you'd think the training a psychiatrist receives would cover it with other factitious disorders.

It seems to me like it takes a lot of courage to admit to having Munchausen Syndrome and then to not find anyone who understands even the basics must be really disheartening. Worse, some information on the internet is pretty grim about the prognosis but I've observed that those who work with a nonjudgmental therapist willing to learn about this illness can make good progress in resisting the urge to act out, much as in other compulsive disorders.

It also concerns me that doctors and nurses get educated about it so they don't overreact when a patient reveals that they have Munchausen Syndrome or make the assumption that the patient is never telling the truth about their symptoms. I've read about patients coming in with legitimate complaints and not being treated. I understand that it is difficult sometimes to tell but I think a rapport can be established that would allow the doctor to ask the patient to confirm that they are being truthful. (I'd suggest the patient to make a contract that they will always answer such questions truthfully.) Presumably the patient who admits to having Munchausen Syndrome is invested in their own recovery and willing to make such a contract.