What is Munchausen Syndrome?
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Munchausen syndrome is a complicated mental illness in which a person pretends to be sick to get attention and sympathy from others. Since it's self-inflicted, it's difficult to treat. Get details on Munchausen syndrome in this video.
Transcript: Munchausen syndrome is a factitious disorder, meaning it's made up or self-inflicted. A person with Munchausen...
Munchausen syndrome is a factitious disorder, meaning it's made up or self-inflicted. A person with Munchausen syndrome pretends to be sick, or makes himself sick on purpose. People act this way to fulfill attention and sympathy needs, not for concrete benefits, like time off from work or financial gain. Munchausen patients make up illnesses, fabricate phony medical histories and create long lists of fake "symptoms." They may even make themselves sick by taking medications that ultimately mimic disease, like blood thinners, and by cutting, burning, or injuring themselves. Munchausen patients are so desperate to come off as sick that they'll even tamper with lab tests and equipment. Their behaviors mean unnecessary loss of organs to surgery, severe injury and even death. Unfortunately, people with Munchausen syndrome are so adept at deception; it can be hard to diagnose them. Some peculiar symptoms to look for include: eagerness to undergo frequent testing or risky procedures, very vague or inconsistent symptoms, and frequent hospitalizations, often at many different institutions. People with Munchausen syndrome may tell dramatic stories about medical history, yet appear to have few supportive visitors at the hospital. They may appear evasive when doctors ask to speak to their loved ones. If a doctor notices these things and does diagnose Munchausen syndrome, it can be difficult to treat. That's because the best treatment is talk therapy, but most patients won't admit they have an issue. Those who do get treatment often do so at the urging of family and friends. If you're concerned a loved one is faking illness, consult her about the issue. If gentle prodding doesn't help, your next step is to speak with her doctor.More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-01 | Tags »
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Instead of being frightened or angry with their captors, people who develop Stockholm syndrome develop compassion towards them. Watch this video to learn what Stockholm syndrome is and how it got its name.
Transcript: On the surface, Dugard's behavior seems bizarre, but it's typical of a psychological phenomenon known...
On the surface, Dugard's behavior seems bizarre, but it's typical of a psychological phenomenon known as Stockholm syndrome. Victims of Stockholm syndrome develop compassion and loyalty toward their captors. The condition follows psychologically traumatizing situations, like hostage situations and kidnappings. In fact, Stockholm syndrome got its name in 1973 when two thieves accosted a bank in Stockholm, Sweden, taking four-bank employees hostage. For six days, the prisoners were held in a bank vault, tied to explosives with nooses around their necks. During a rescue attempt, police were shocked when the captives took offense, siding with the captors! Like the Stockholm victims, people who develop this condition endure situations where they're forced to contemplate the reality of severe injury or death. In order for Stockholm syndrome to develop, a victim must also perceive that her captor's have shown occasional kindnesses. Being permitted to eat, not being punished for a so-called transgression, and even being allowed to live are all considered benevolent to someone with Stockholm syndrome. People with Stockholm experience symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder patients. They may have flashbacks, nightmares, distrust of others, and the inability to enjoy previously pleasurable activities. No one is sure why this phenomenon occurs, but it has been suggested that a victim believes, perhaps unconsciously, that forming an attachment to her captor maximizes her survival. Oddly, Stockholm syndrome doesn't resolve in tandem with the end of a hostage situation. In the 1973 bank robbing, the freed hostages remained loyal to their captors, even setting up a fund to cover the criminals' legal fees! These symptoms of Stockholm syndrome are actually something of an anomaly. According to FBI reports, 73-percent of abduction victims show no compassion or affection for their captors. And for the other 27-percent, long-term psychotherapy, together with short-term anxiety or sleep medications, offer Stockholm syndrome sufferers an excellent chance to recover and resume a normal, healthy life!More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-21 | Tags »
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Curious about what makes a serial killer…well, a serial killer? Check out this video to learn more about the criteria and learn what goes on in the mind of a serial killer.
Transcript: To be labeled a serial killer, an individual must commit three or more murders in a relatively short...
To be labeled a serial killer, an individual must commit three or more murders in a relatively short time, with periods of rest, or "cool downs," in between. They prefer strangers for victims, and their motive is always psychological, not material. This begs the question, "What kind of person feels gratified from murder?" On the surface, serial killers are most often white males in their 20s or 30s. They tend to share dysfunctional childhoods, stories of physical or sexual abuse, and a history of detentions or arrests. As young adults, many serial killers will obsess over pyromania or animal cruelty. But what can we tell about the MINDS of these killers? Many serial killers have antisocial personality disorder, and show little regard for society's expectations of "right" and "wrong." They also have a genuine disregard for the rights and feelings of other people. Take Ted Bundy, for instance. After his arrest for murdering more than 30 people, he said, "I'm the most cold-blooded son-of-a-bitch you'll ever meet. I just like to kill." Despite this, people with antisocial personality disorder are charming and adept at manipulation. So are serial killers actually insane? Not usually. Many have families, jobs, and even hold leadership positions in their communities. The FBI reports most actually have IQs in the "above normal" range. Some are intelligent enough to attempt to convince authorities of their insanity, while others create fantastical alter egos, pinning their crimes on inner devils. Very few criminals actually have dissociative identity, or multiple personality, disorder. Regardless of what's inherently "wrong" with them, it's rare that serial killers express regret or the desire to reform. For this reason, and for the safety of all of us, serial killers are almost never offered rehabilitation, but instead are sentenced to life in prison or death.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-21 | Tags »
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What is schizophrenia? Well, for starters, it's not the same as multiple personality disorder, as many people think. Watch this video to learn about the characteristics of schizophrenia.
Transcript: People with schizophrenia may hear voices or believe that other people are reading their minds, controlling...
People with schizophrenia may hear voices or believe that other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting against them. These experiences are terrifying and can cause fearfulness, withdrawal, or extreme agitation. The chronic, severe, and disabling psychiatric disorder that we now call schizophrenia can be traced in written documents like the Egyptian Book of the Dead as far back as 2000 B.C. Many schizophrenics do not make sense when they talk-sometimes displaying "word salad: speech-here is an example: (Psychologist reads Patient Carl transcript 12 - 15 seconds. Eugen Bleuler first coined the term 'schizophrenia' in 1911 and defined the disorder with his four "A's": blunted Affect or diminished emotional response; loosening of Associations or reduced understanding of relationships; Ambivalence-an inability to make decisions; and Autism-a preoccupation with one's own thoughts and reduced awareness of external events. The psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia-hallucinations and delusions-tend to emerge earlier in men than in women. For men, symptoms appear in their mid to late-20's, while for women, schizophrenia symptoms surface in their mid-20's to early-30's. Symptoms don't typically occur after age 45 and only rarely before puberty. Although schizophrenia is a serious illness, the outlook for those diagnosed with the disorder has improved over the last 30 years. There is still no cure, but effective treatments have been developed, and many people with schizophrenia improve enough to lead independent, satisfying lives. If someone you love has symptoms of schizophrenia, please consult a mental health professional. Want to learn more? Check out other videos and sources on this site for more information.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-12 | Tags »
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Delusions, hallucinations and an inability to organize thoughts are just a few of the symptoms of schizophrenia. Watch this video to learn about schizophrenia diagnosis and treatment.
Last Modified: 2013-10-01 | Tags »
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What do you see when you look in the mirror? If you hate what you see, you may have an unhealthy body image - even if you are actually at a healthy weight! Learn more about body dysmorphic disorder.
Transcript: During college, more than half of students - both female and male - worry about their body more compulsively...
During college, more than half of students - both female and male - worry about their body more compulsively than their classes. Your body image isn't necessarily an accurate reflection of your appearance. It's how you perceive your body, and how you feel about your figure. Body image is often intrinsically linked with what society collectively "decides" is attractive, an ideal that changes at a rapid-fire rate. In the roaring twenties, for example, society idealized women who had svelte, almost boyish figures. Meanwhile, the post-war 50s ushered in a curvy physique as the female ideal. Today, thin is in, and the typical model is a shocking 23-percent smaller than the average woman. Society's definition of physical perfection is difficult to achieve, and often requires decidedly unhealthy habits to maintain. On the other hand, it is possible for most people to attain a healthy body size, by exercising and maintaining a nutritious diet. As well, the most sustainable way to feel good about yourself is to try to align your healthy body size with your body image, although this is easier said than done. If that's something you find yourself struggling with, call in some backup, whether it is a campus therapist or supportive friend.More »
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With the media stressing the importance of looking thin and perfect, a number of females suffer from anorexia nervosa. Learn more about this disorder here.
Transcript: Is the battle to be thin compromising your health? It may be - Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality...
Is the battle to be thin compromising your health? It may be - Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. While most people think of anorexia as an eating disorder, in actuality, anorexia nervosa is a psychiatric diagnosis - one which describes the eating disorder we commonly call anorexia. Mentally, people with anorexia suffer from body image distortion, which makes them feel perpetually overweight, even when they are actually very thin. Because of this skewed body image, anorexics are continuously focused on attaining a low body weight, often severely limiting their food intake. Anorexics may also exercise excessively, abuse diet pills, or induce themselves to vomit in at attempt to lose weight. Sadly, continuously starving the body can be physically devastating. Over time, anorexics can experience low blood pressure, a slowed heartbeat, stunted growth, a weakened immune system, and tooth and bone decay. If left untreated, anorexia nervosa can lead to death as the body gives in to literal starvation. Some research suggests that people prone to perfectionism, depression, or anxiety may be more likely to suffer from anorexia, but there is no single cause for the disease. While 90% of the people who suffer from anorexia are female, and adolescent girls are the most likely group to be affected, the disorder still affects many different kinds of people. Nonetheless, women who participate in a job or sport that emphasizes body size, such as modeling, gymnastics or ballet, may also be more likely to be anorexic. Regardless of the cause, if you think you or a friend may be suffering from this psychological disorder, willpower alone is not enough to stop it. In fact, it's vital to seek immediate counseling and medical care from a doctor or your college's health center.More »
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Bulimia nervosa affects up to 4.2 percent of women in the U.S. If you find yourself needing to vomit after you eat, it's time for help. This video offers information, including help with bulimia recovery and more on other eating disorders.
Transcript: Bulimia nervosa is the most common eating disorder seen among college students. Could you be suffering...
Bulimia nervosa is the most common eating disorder seen among college students. Could you be suffering from bulimia? Bulimia is a complicated disorder, and many people who suffer from it are of a normal, or even slightly larger than normal, body size. This psychological disorder is characterized by an obsession with eating a large amount of food at once, often called binging. A binge is different than normal overeating. For example, during a binge, a person might consume an entire cake instead of just an extra piece. After binging, bulimics feel guilt, shame and anger about their actions. As such, they will purge the food from their systems, often by self-induced vomiting. Bulimics may also use excessive exercising, diuretics, laxatives, or enemas in an attempt to lose the weight from a binging session. But bulimia has a profound effect on the body. The acid from vomit can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and loss of tooth enamel in bulimics. Other, even more serious complications can result from repeat binging and purging like osteoporosis, kidney damage, heart damage, and even death. As with anorexia nervosa, people with bulimia may be prone to excessive worry, depression, or perfectionism. Bulimics tend to have an unhealthy body image, but often appear of fairly normal size, despite the disorder.More »
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Know the signs of anorexia? What about the traits that signal another eating disorder? If you're worried about a friend's body image--and the lengths that she'll go to to look a certain way--watch this to learn the classic signs of eating disorders.
Transcript: According to one study, 20-percent of college-aged women and 1-percent of collegiate men suffer from...
According to one study, 20-percent of college-aged women and 1-percent of collegiate men suffer from an eating disorder. So just how healthy is your relationship with food? Although there are several different types of eating disorder, they all stem from the same basic issue - an unhealthy, unrealistic body image. Your body image is your perception of your appearance, regardless of what the mirror or other people have to say. If you are concerned that you, or a friend, may have an eating disorder, it can be helpful to know some of the common warning signs. For example, an obsession with food-eating way too much, eating scarcely anything, or constantly thinking about eating-is a sign that you may have a problem. Other warning signs include exercising to the point of illness, or using laxatives, diuretics or enemas to lose weight. If you have an eating disorder, you may become secretive about food, only eating in private or hiding what you've eaten. You may also find yourself talking excessively about your weight, exercising, and meals excessively. There also may be some physical signs that you have an eating disorder. As your body starves, you might notic...severe fatigue, constant feelings of coldness, a blueish tinge to your skin, a downy covering of hair on your body, thinning hair, and brittle nails. If you're female, you may also stop getting your period. If you notice any of these very serious symptoms, it's time to get help. Talk to a friend, a parent, or a doctor at your college's health center immediately.More »
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To put a stop to picky eaters you will have to demonstrate a lot of skill and patience. Watch this to learn how.
Transcript: So your little one is boycotting any dinner that isn't hotdogs? Picky eaters are natural. In fact, research...
So your little one is boycotting any dinner that isn't hotdogs? Picky eaters are natural. In fact, research shows that children need to be exposed to new foods ten to fifteen times before developing a taste for them! But that doesn't mean you have to put up with a Twinkie-only diet. Put a stop to picky eaters by letting them see grown-ups enjoying the food in question. When your child asks what you're eating, you can casually ask "Want a bite?" It's also important not to make a separate meal for a picky eater. If he or she doesn't want to eat what everyone else is having, that's okay, but don't offer other options. Children can miss a meal or two, and-trust us!-they get hungry eventually. Follow through with these simple suggestions and picky eaters will soon be feasting happily with the rest of the family!More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-02 | Tags »
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People can develop a dissociative identity disorder due to a number of factors. If left untreated, this disorder can have serious consequences. Learn about this here.
Transcript: Most of us know Tila Tequila as a Playboy model or the girlfriend of a football player. Or maybe we...
Most of us know Tila Tequila as a Playboy model or the girlfriend of a football player. Or maybe we know her from her most recent, infamous engagement to Casey Johnson, the heiress to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, who died in early 2010. Tila's not just a multi-layered character, she's actually not alone in that famous body! Tila Tequila suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder - or Multiple Personality Disorder as it was once known - a mental illness in which a sufferer has at least two distinct identities. Experts attest that most patients have about 13 to 15 personalities, although there have been cases of people with up to 100 "alter-egos." About a year ago, Tila announced her condition on her MySpace page, and some of her erratic behavior since seems in line with her confession that she suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder. For Tila Tequila, one of those other identities is "Jane," an outspoken woman who recently hijacked Tila's Twitter account. "I told you once and I'm not gonna tell you again, Tila is not here! this is Jane!" Jane tweeted. Aside from alter egos like these, people with Dissociative Identity Disorder, or DID, experience severe memory loss, or memory fluctuations. Other symptoms of the disorder can include: sleep disorders, alcohol or drug abuse, compulsions and rituals, and depression, and in more severe cases, suicidal tendencies. Because Dissociative Identity Disorder is so eccentric, it attracts a lot of media attention. For example, Steven Spielberg's latest brainchild, The United States of Tara, is a television show about a wife and mother boasting four personalities and counting. The show resulted in Showtime Networks' highest ratings in five years, and was almost instantly picked up for another season. Despite all this buzz, it is generally believed that less than one-percent of the United States population suffers from DID. Why these few people develop the disorder is not fully understood, but...experts do know that up to 99-percent of Dissociative Identity patients report severe physical and/or sexual abuse in young childhood. It is for this reason that DID sufferers often have traumatic flashbacks characteristic of another mental condition called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. There is no definitive test that can diagnose DID, so psychiatrists must conduct detailed mental health interviews to look for it.The process is tricky though, and it is estimated that individuals with DID may spend up to seven years in therapy before they are properly diagnosed. The primary treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder is ongoing psychotherapy, with a goal of combining all the personalities into one. This is what famous athlete, Herschel Walker, talks about in his recent book Breaking Free. A silent sufferer of Dissociative Identity Disorder, Walker channeled his identities into various sports.Walker was so successful at this that he was both a recipient of college football's Heisman trophy and a participant in the 1992 United States Olympian bobsled division. Walker also out-sprinted other Olympian runners, studied taekwondo, and schooled in ballet: "... a lot of people who have been under trauma go into an altered personality to cope with different things in their lives," Walker explained. Still, some individuals with DID are not content to rely on talk therapy. Hypnosis and electroconvulsive therapy are both alternative methods of attempting to control multiple identities. When DID is not treated - or when it's treated poorly - the results can be severe. Such was the case with Rebecca Arwen Long, a devout knitter, keeper of to-do lists, and loving wife. But it wasn't that side of Long that was on trial in a Seattle courtroom last November. Instead, it was a side that starved her stepdaughter to the point where the 14-year-old weighed just 47 pounds at the time of her rescue. Although Long's lawyers cited poorly controlled Dissociative Identity Disorder as the culprit, Long - and her alter-ego - were sentenced to three and a half years. Clearly, we have a long way to go before we fully understand DID and the conditions that surround it. But there are treatments that can help! So if you believe that you, or someone you love is suffering from the disorder, please seek immediate medical attention.More »
Last Modified: 2013-11-22 | Tags »
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Paranoia is not just about being overly suspicious and distrustful of people, but can be a symptom of a serious psychological disorder. Watch this video to learn more about paranoid personality disorder.
Transcript: Paranoid personality disorder, or PPD, is a psychiatric condition in which a person is very suspicious...
Paranoid personality disorder, or PPD, is a psychiatric condition in which a person is very suspicious and distrustful of others and up to 4.4-percent of Americans are currently living with it. For a person with Paranoid Personality Disorder, almost everyone is a source of suspicion and mistrust, though sufferers are usually unable to acknowledge their own negative feelings towards other people. Although these feelings of mistrust and suspicion are nearly constant in a PPD sufferer's life, these misgivings tend to be unfounded. Still, people with PPD are always on their guard, believing that they are about to be deceived, demeaned or harmed. As such, individuals suffering from the disorder are often reluctant to confide in others, for fear that information will be used against them later. There is concern that other people have hidden motives, and coupled with the PPD sufferer's expectation that they will be exploited by others, there is a general inability for them to work together with others. They also tend to read hidden, malicious meanings in casual remarks or glances. Similarly, people with Paranoid Personality Disorder frequently perceive attacks on their characters or reputations that are not evident to others. It is also not uncommon for individuals with PPD to be hostile and argumentative and to have a hard time relaxing. Because of these symptoms, people with Paranoid Personality Disorder are often socially isolated, detached and have poor self-images. They are prone to holding grudges about both real and perceived insults and injuries. Similarly, these individuals are more likely to become suspicious and jealous of spouses or lovers. Often, PPD sufferers become entangled in legal battles in which they sue others for imagined wrongdoing. No one knows what causes these symptoms of Paranoid Personality Disorder. But, it has been noted that people with PPD are more likely to have family members with schizophrenia, suggesting a genetic link between the two. Unfortunately, PPD is difficult to treat, because people with the disorder do not see themselves as having problems. In addition, the mistrust with which PPD sufferers regard others makes it difficult for medical professionals to offer assistance. When treatment for Paranoid Personality Disorder is sought, psychotherapy is the preferred method. Psychotherapy for PPD focuses on improving social interactions and teaching a sufferer better coping mechanisms. Because therapy can indeed limit the impact of paranoia, it's important for affected individuals to seek help for Paranoid Personality Disorder.More »
Last Modified: 2013-11-22 | Tags »
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