MSBP is Abuse, Not A Mental Disorder


Hannah Barham

Munchausen Syndrome and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy are two very different illnesses. Munchausen Syndrome is where someone with a perfectly healthy body tells everyone that they are suffering from severe illnesses such as cancer. Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is the act of telling people that someone they are close to is very sick, and they purposefully drug this said person with drugs and other medicines to keep the story up. I was talking to a friend the other day and he told me, “I don’t really believe in MSBP.” When I asked him why, he explained that MSBP is not a disorder that is born with the person, rather just an act of hurting someone else, while Munchausen Syndrome is its own disorder.

Munchausen Syndrome can be found everywhere. We see episodes of Dr. Phil where people have faked having cancer, and have gone as far as shaving their head, pretending to be in a wheelchair, posting on social media, holding fundraisers, etc. Nine times out of ten, we see these people get exposed for their lies and face the consequences of their actions. 

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is extremely prominent in one of the most talked about true crime cases in American history: Gypsy Rose Blanchard. Her doting mother, Dee Dee, told everyone that Gypsy suffered from sleep apnea, leukemia, muscular dystrophy, etc. Dee Dee had Gypsy in a wheelchair and lied about her age. Dee Dee would tell people that Gypsy had the mind of a child at 14 years old, and she brought Gypsy in for countless doctor visits. And every time someone saw an inconsistency with Gypsy’s medical records, Dee Dee would switch hospitals. Gypsy was beloved by her community, and she always had trips to Disneyworld, Niagara Falls, visits from Miranda Lambert, etc. However, one fateful night, Gypsy met Nicholas Godejohn, and the two began an online relationship. Gypsy eventually asked Nick to kill her mother, which he did. Nicholas is currently serving life in jail and Gypsy is to be eligible for parole in 2024. Everyone flew off the handle and called Dee Dee and Gypsy scammers for faking everything, until everyone learned that Dee Dee purposefully drugged Gypsy to keep up the appearance of being sick, and physically and emotionally abused her.

See how different Munchausen Syndrome and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy are? No one is born with the disorder of inflicting sickness on others, it is simply just an act of narcissism and seeking validation from everyone else. This is why Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy should not be classified and tried as a mental disorder, it’s just straight up child abuse. Abuse to anyone, for that matter. It’s not limited to just children. A wife may drug her husband and tell everyone that he suffers from cancer and let everyone comfort and fawn over her. Munchausen Syndrome itself is just someone talking about themselves, and not harming anyone else as they keep up their story.

Munchausen Syndrome and Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy may have similar names, but they are two very different things and because they are both classified as mental illness, cases in which Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy are disregarded and not seen as abuse, when it should be. This needs to classed as abuse for a different way to try suspects of MSBP.