Our daughter enjoys a Tuesday evening, Fox TV program “House”, an off the wall medical mystery show. Catching snippets and overhearing dialogue while doing chores this evening I could follow that the plot involved a diagnosis of Munchausen Syndrome. Give or take some other twists.
I learned that Munchausen Syndrome is a type of factitious disorder, or mental illness. A person repeatedly acts as if he or she has a physical or mental disorder when, in truth, they have caused the symptoms. People act this way because of an inner need to be seen as ill or injured.
Now comes the clincher. The show’s script writers gave the patient the “excuse” that while she was growing up her mother had Multiple Sclerosis. People were always doing things for her Mom, and taking care of her Mom, getting her things, brushing her hair … Her Mother died when she was 16 and the show's patient had learned to associate attention with illness.
I just sat there with my mouth open. It may mean nothing to 99 out of 100 people. Yet, we have lived with MS in our family and that includes a daughter raised by a Mother with MS.
I tried to rationalize that script writers were writing for the reasoning of a mentally ill patient. However, I couldn’t help but wonder what misinformation a viewer with no real knowledge of living with MS could walk away with.
In all these years I have never heard or read of any family member developing Munchausen Syndrome because another family member had MS.