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Once the syndrome is recognized, the child needs to be protected and removed from direct care of the parent. The affected parent should not be accused directly, but offered help.
Because this is a form of child abuse, the syndrome must be reported to the authorities. Psychiatric counseling will be recommended for the parent involved, but since the disorder is rare, very little is known about effective treatment.
This is a difficult disorder to treat in parents. There is little information available about the best types of treatment or what the outcome will be. It usually requires years of psychiatric support.
Children may require medical care to treat injuries the parent inflicted, as well as psychiatric care to deal with depression, anxiety, and other conditions that can be provoked by child abuse. Some children may die from infections or other injuries inflicted by parents with Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
The child can have complications from injuries, infections, medications, surgeries, or tests. Risk for psychological complications like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and others is increased in survivors of child abuse.
This condition is diagnosed by the health care provider when the child is treated for various symptoms. If you find that you have urges to harm your child, seek psychiatric care immediately.
Johnson CF. Abuse and neglect of children. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 36.
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