Munchausen Syndrome

Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome

Also Known As... 
Factitious disorder imposed on another (FDIA or FDIoA)

Parents of children who are seriously ill with Lyme or any other disease need to navigate a host of complex medical situations.  Problems may arise when state, school, or other authorities involved with the child have insufficient or inaccurate information about the problems associated with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, especially one that produces multiple symptoms like Lyme and tick borne diseases.  

Some professionals and parents are not familiar with the existence of more than one Lyme disease standard of care (IDSA) and health care professionals will often only offer a short term, cost effective treatment protocol that has failed many.  

Additional Lyme disease guidelines (ILADS) allows physicians to make a clinical diagnosis, use of a variety of diagnostic methods (better tests), and differing treatment protocols as the need arises. 

Because of these misunderstandings parents sometimes find themselves involved with child protection agencies or school districts that are filing inappropriate charges of child abuse, neglect or even accusing the parents of Munchausens by Proxy. 

To assist parents in addressing the false allegations and getting their children the help they need, the following documents may be helpful. 

1. Dr. Virginia Sherr published an article- 'Munchausen's syndrome by proxy and Lyme disease: medical misogyny or diagnostic mystery?' discussing Munchausens by Proxy as related to Lyme and tick borne diseases.  Source 

2.  Lorraine Johnson of published an article- 'Two Standards of Care In Lyme Disease'.

3.  Dr. James Schaller published an updated 'Lyme Disease Symptom Checklist' that is very extensive and fully documented with references.   

4.  Dr. Robert Bransfield published an article, "All in Your Head?", stating in part:
"Late stage Lyme disease has been erroneously diagnosed as psychosomatic, hypochondriasis, malingering, factitious disorder, Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy, Somatoform disorder, hysteria, and conversion disorder." 

5.  Dr. Joseph Burrascano's 'Advanced Topics in Lyme Disease' can help explain some of the problems parents face when their child remains ill after short term treatment for Lyme disease. 

6.  The national Lyme Disease Association provides parents with a number of helpful articles concerning children and Lyme disease. Source 

7.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states on its website that patients can have symptoms that last months to years, even after treatment, and they call the condition "Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome".  
Quote:  "Approximately 10-20% of patients with Lyme disease have symptoms that last months to years after treatment with antibiotics. 

These symptoms can include muscle and joint pains, cognitive defects, sleep disturbance, or fatigue. The cause of these symptoms is not known, but there is no evidence that these symptoms are due to ongoing infection with B. burgdorferi. This condition is referred to as Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS)."  Click here for more information.

8.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also states the symptoms Lyme patients experience, even after what is thought to be "adequate treatment", are real.  
Quote:  "If your family and friends can't provide the support you need, talk with a counselor who can help you find ways of managing your life during this difficult time. As with any illness, Lyme disease can affect you and your loved ones. It doesn't mean that your symptoms are not real. It means that you are a human being who needs extra support in a time of need."
Click here for more information.

9.  You may want to have your child tested for Epstein Barr Virus and Parvo B-19 virus. One, or both, have a chance of reading positive in someone with chronic Lyme disease.  This provides the parents with more medical documentation of an ongoing illness.  You may also want to test for additional tick borne diseases.  See a list of the various know tick borne diseases and basic information about them here.

10.  Another fact to consider- The term Munchausens by Proxy is not officially recognised in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th Ed., published by the American Psychiatric Association

11.  Dr. Ann Corson discusses the difficulty with evaluating, diagnosing, and treating Lyme and tick borne diseases in children, including a discussion concerning symptoms.  Article by Scott Forsgren, click here.

12.  M.A.M.A. (Mothers Against Munchausens Allegations) has a website that may be of help. 

13.  Dr. Helen Hayward-Brown wrote an article, 'False and Highly Questionable Accusations of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy', that is very detailed and may be of help to you.  

15.  'Munchausen: Unusual Suspects' is a magazine article published in Psychology Today.

Additional information below...

Lucy Barnes
Last Updated- August 2018
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