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Academia and the Profession |

Probing the Dynamics of Münchausen's Syndrome Detailed Analysis of a Case

PETER G. JUSTUS, M.D.; SARAH S. KREUTZIGER, M.S.W.; and CRAIG S. KITCHENS, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: Drs. Justus and Kitchens were supported by funds from the Veterans Administration. Dr. Kitchens is a recipient of a Veterans Administration Clinical Investigation Award.

▸ Requests for reprints should be addressed to Craig S. Kitchens, M.D.; Research Service (151), Veterans Administration Medical Center; Gainesville, FL 32602.


Gainesville, Florida


© 1980 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1980;93(1_Part_1):120-127. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-93-1-120
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During a 10-week period we made in-depth observations of a patient with Münchausen's syndrome who had chronic myelogenous leukemia. Probably because he perceived that his life expectancy was brief, he disclosed his wanderings and regularly used methods of deception. These methods were usually based on his knowledge of pathophysiology. He exploited the desire of medical personnel to be helpful. Through interviews with the patient, family members, and previous physicians and review of 14 kg of medical records, we attempted to reconstruct his life to gain insight into his conscious and unconscious motivations. Most features of Münchausen's syndrome appear to be explainable by the patient's attempts to have control over his immediate environment.

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