Munchausen's syndrome

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The repeated simulation of severe organic disease, leading to numerous medical and/or surgical consultations, hospitalisations and unnecessary operations. This pseudodisease affects individuals who create bizarre lesions or fabricate symptoms to enjoy the perceived benefits of hospitalisation, as well as the attention and sympathy of others
Statistics Male:female ratio, 1:2; 74% develop the condition by age 24; the average patient is diagnosed by age 32.
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Munchausen's syndrome

The systematic practice of deliberate and calculated simulation of disease so as to obtain attention, status and free accommodation and board. People engaging in this activity study medical textbooks and report a plausible list of symptoms of a usually serious condition so as to elicit medical interest and admission to hospital. They have a preference for surgical conditions and often display an unusual number of operation scars—a circumstance that may give the game away. Detection is inevitable and is followed by the disappearance of the ‘patient’. Baron Munchausen was the hero of the outrageously implausible pseudo-autobiographical tales of the novelist and criminal psychopath Rudolf Eric Raspe. The syndrome was so named, and first described, by Richard Asher in his book Talking Sense , published in 1972.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005