Headaches and face pains as a manifestation of Munchausen syndrome

Seymour Solomon, Richard B. Lipton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Virtually every psychological or physical symptom may be feigned in order to assume a sick role; the term Munchausen syndrome is applied when the physical features are predominant. Complaints of headache as a manifestation of this condition are rare. We report such a case and review the literature of similar cases. A 34-year-old man consulted several headache specialists in different cities. Many different diagnoses were made, consistent with the various histories the patient related. It seems most unlikely that any one individual could experience 14 distinct headache disorders. Dozens of medications were prescribed, and a dozen or more were taken by the patient daily. People with Munchausen syndrome consciously feign physical symptoms and signs because of the apparently senseless need to assume a sick role. This condition is distinguished from malingering in which the symptoms are consciously reigned for personal gain and from somatoform disorder in which development of symptoms for psychological purposes is unconscious. Primary headache disorders, once thought to have a psychological basis, are now recognized as biological disorders. Though psychogenic mechanisms have been largely discredited, rarely, as illustrated by the present case, psychological mechanisms are predominant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-50
Number of pages6
JournalHeadache
Volume39
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

Fingerprint

Munchausen Syndrome
Facial Pain
Headache
Sick Role
Psychology
Primary Headache Disorders
Malingering
Headache Disorders
Somatoform Disorders
Signs and Symptoms

Keywords

  • Factitious disorder
  • Malingering
  • Munchausen syndrome
  • Somatoform disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Headaches and face pains as a manifestation of Munchausen syndrome. / Solomon, Seymour; Lipton, Richard B.

In: Headache, Vol. 39, No. 1, 1999, p. 45-50.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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