Do Teenagers Fake Mental Health Issues?
Learn about Munchausen syndrome and warning signs that indicate your teen may be at risk for this potentially harmful behavior.
What Is Munchausen Syndrome?
It’s no secret that teenagers can be moody and challenging at times. When does normal teenage behavior cross the line into something more serious? Many parents worry that their teens are faking mental health issues to get attention or avoid responsibilities. Are teenagers fabricating mental health problems, or is something else going on? Let’s take a closer look at this complex issue.
Munchausen Syndrome Vs. Factitious Disorder
Munchausen Syndrome Vs. Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy
Signs and Symptoms of Munchausen Syndrome
Possible Warning Signs of Munchausen Syndrome
When To See a Doctor
How Teenagers Fake Mental Health Issues?
- Faking Symptoms: When faking mental illnesses, a teenager may report having severe symptoms that do not align with what most people experience.5
- Exaggerating Existing Symptoms: If teenagers are faking sickness or mental health issues, it’s common to exaggerate symptoms.5
- Causing Self-Harm: Faking illness can include inflicting self-harm, including burning or cutting oneself.5
- Making Up Stories: If a teen is faking illness, they may begin telling unbelievable made-up stories to substantiate their condition.5
- Tampering: Faking illness to get attention can involve tampering with lab samples or tests. For example, an adolescent could add blood to a urine sample.5
Munchausen Syndrome Causes and Risk Factors
What Causes Munchausen Syndrome?
If a person has a factitious disorder imposed on self, like Munchausen syndrome, it may result from childhood trauma, a personality disorder, or a grudge against healthcare professionals.
Munchausen Syndrome Risk Factors
Munchausen syndrome signs and risk factors include chronic illness during childhood, self-esteem problems, relationship issues, having an ill family member, difficulty separating reality and fantasy, a tendency to lie or manipulate, and a history of mental health challenges.
Munchausen Syndrome Diagnosis and Treatment
How Is Munchausen Syndrome Diagnosed?
Munchausen Syndrome Treatment Options
- Having A Primary Care Doctor: Since Munchausen syndrome is a mental health condition, it’s challenging for a primary care doctor to address it without a psychiatric provider’s assistance.
- Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), helps treat the symptoms of Munchausen syndrome. However, psychotherapy may not be appropriate if the client does not admit to having a problem.
- Medication: During psychiatric treatment, a specially trained therapist may use medication management to help address the symptoms of Munchausen syndrome.
- Hospitalization: Hospitalization may be necessary to treat factitious disorders depending on a client’s physical and mental state.
Treatment for Munchausen Syndrome at Pacific Beach Health
Pacific Beach Health is an outpatient behavioral health treatment provider that caters to adults and adolescents in Pacific Beach, California. The clinical team at Pacific Beach Health nurtures healing and growth with a holistic approach to behavioral health struggles, relationship challenges, and wellness. An experienced team of counselors and therapists is available to treat a range of mental health diagnoses, including Munchausen syndrome.