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Munchausen Syndrome

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Brock University
Ingrid Makus

o Munchausen Syndrome; making yourself ill purposely, or when a mother purposely makes her child ill to take care of them and feel like a good mother. SOMATIZATION DISORDER: Somatisation disorder: recurrent, multiple somatic complaints, with no apparent physical cause, for which medical attention is sought. To meet diagnostic criteria, the person must have: (1) four pain symptoms in different locations, (2) two gastrointestinal symptoms (i.e. diarrhea, nausea), (3) one sexual symptom other than pain (i.e. indifference to sex, erectile dysfunction...) and (4) one pseudo- neurological symptom (i.e those of conversion disorder). These symptoms usually cause impairment, particularly regarding work. The specific symptoms of the disorder may vary across cultures. The disorder may be more frequent in cultures that de-emphasize the overt display of emotion. Somatisation disorder and conversion disorder share many symptoms, and both diagnoses may apply to the same patient. It may not be as stable as the DSM implies; in one study, only one third of patients with somatisation disorder still met diagnostic criteria when reassessed 12 months later. Somatisation disorder also seems to run in families; it is fund in about 20% of the first-degree relatives of index cases. ETIOLOGY OF SOMATOFORM DISORDER: much of the theorizing has been directed solely toward understanding hysteria as originally conceptualized by Freud. Consequently it has focused on explanations of conversion disorder. Etiology of Somatisation Disorder: It has been proposed that patients with somatisation disorder are more sensitive to physical sensations, over-attend to them, or interpret them catastrophically. Using methods such as the Stroop Test, it has been found that somatoform patients had a memory bias for physical threat words. Patients have high levels of cortisol, an indication that they are under stress. Perhaps the extreme tension of an individual localises in stomach muscles, resulting in feelings of nausea or vomiting. Once normal functioning is disrupted, the maladaptive pattern may strengthen because of the attention it receives or the excuses it provides. Attributing
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