Munchausens syndrome by proxy MSBP not listed in ICD

This was a term coined to describe the behaviour of parents, usually mothers, who intentionally produce illness in their child, who is then presented for medical attention. The term and its paediatrician originator, Meadow, subsequently became controversial. The syndrome may have seen overdiagnosed, resulting in possible wrongful removal of non-abused children from their parents and even criminal convictions. The more neutral term fabricated or induced illness (FII) is now preferred by paediatricians.

It is probable that MSBP does not denote a unique psychiatric syndrome in the parent. It is better to regard it as criminal behaviour, rather than a psychiatric matter; it should be investigated by the police, and social services should undertake a risk assessment in respect of the children according to standard child protection procedures. Psychiatric evaluation of the parent on standard lines will be appropriate; a variety of disorders may be present, including personality disorder.

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