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Thread: fyi: Münchausen by Internet

  1. #71
    To quote Maya Angelou: "When people show you who they are, believe them."

  2. #72
    Senior Member zagam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Western Australia - Hammer wielding daemon
    Münchausen by Internet by Proxy would exist too as would Münchausen by Proxy by Internet by Proxy.

  3. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Edwards View Post
    Münchausen by Internet is a pattern of behavior in which Internet users seek attention by feigning illnesses in online venues such as chat rooms, message boards, and Internet Relay Chat (IRC). It has been described in medical literature as a manifestation of factitious disorder or factitious disorder by proxy. Reports of users who deceive Internet forum participants by portraying themselves as gravely ill or as victims of violence first appeared in the 1990s due to the relative newness of Internet communications. The pattern was identified in 1998 by psychiatrist Marc Feldman, who created the term "Münchausen by Internet" in 2000. It is not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR.

    . . . Several high-profile cases have demonstrated behavior patterns which are common among those who pose as gravely ill, victims of violence, or whose deaths are announced to online forums. The virtual communities which were created to give support, as well as general non-medical communities, often express genuine sympathy and grief for the purported victims. When fabrications are suspected or confirmed, the ensuing discussion can create schisms in online communities, destroying some and altering the trusting nature of individual members in others.

    . . . After studying 21 cases of deception, Feldman listed the following common behavior patterns in people who exhibited Münchausen by Internet:

    * Medical literature from websites or textbooks is often duplicated or discussed in great detail.
    * The length and severity of purported physical ailments conflicts with user behavior. Feldman uses the example of someone posting in considerable detail about being in septic shock, when such a possibility is extremely unlikely.
    * Symptoms of ailments may be exaggerated as they correspond to a user's misunderstanding of the nature of an illness.
    * Grave situations and increasingly critical prognoses are interspersed with "miraculous" recoveries.
    * A user's posts eventually reveal contradictory information or claims that are implausible: for example, other users of a forum may find that a user has been divulging contradictory information about occurrence or length of hospital visits.
    * When attention and sympathy decreases to focus on other members of the group, a user may announce that other dire events have transpired, including the illness or death of a close family member.
    * When faced with insufficient expressions of attention or sympathy, a forum member claims this as a cause that symptoms worsen or do not improve.
    * A user resists contact beyond the Internet, by telephone or personal visit, often claiming bizarre reasons for not being able to accept such contact.
    * Further emergencies are described with inappropriate happiness, designed to garner immediate reactions.
    * Other forum members post on behalf of a user, exhibiting identical writing styles, spelling errors, and language idiosyncrasies, suggesting that the user has created fictitious identities to move the conversation in their direction. (Source)

    Clues to Detection of False Claims

    Based on experience with two dozen cases of Munchausen syndrome through the Internet, I have arrived at a list of clues to the detection of factititous Internet claims. The most important follow:

    1. the posts consistently duplicate material in other posts, in books, or on health-related websites;
    2. the characteristics of the supposed illness emerge as caricatures;
    3. near-fatal bouts of illness alternate with miraculous recoveries;
    4. claims are fantastic, contradicted by subsequent posts, or flatly disproved;
    5. there are continual dramatic events in the person's life, especially when other group members have become the focus of attention;
    6. there is feigned blitheness about crises (e.g., going into septic shock) that will predictably attract immediate attention;
    7. others apparently posting on behalf of the individual (e.g., family members, friends) have identical patterns of writing. (Source)
    We have had this happen here before, so I wanted everyone to be aware of it. While we should continue to help people who come here, we need to remember that this is the Internet, so everything isn't always what it seems.

  4. #74

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