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Sufferers cause sickness in others; SHALLOW GRAVE HORROR..

MUNCHAUSEN'S syndrome by proxy is a psychological disorder that makes people fake or cause illness in others to get attention themselves.

Many sufferers study medicine then make up an illness, or deliberately make their loved ones, or those they care for, unwell.

It is most commonly seen among mothers with children.

The illness affects twice as many women as men and is most common in people with very low self-esteem.

Experts say people who were abused as youngsters or who spent long periods in hospital are also most likely to suffer from it.

Serial killer Beverley Allitt was diagnosed with it.

She murdered four children, attempted to kill nine more and caused grievous bodily harm to six others while working as a nurse in a Lincolnshire hospital in 1991.

The syndrome is named after Baron von Munchausen, a fictional character who told tales of imaginary exploits.

Psychotherapy is the only known treatment for the rare disorder.

There are fewer than 20 cases recorded in the UK every year.

It was first recognised in 1977 and is more formally known as fabricated or induced illness.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 1, 2007
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