How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Bill Your Own Question

Bill
Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3704
Experience:  35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Bill is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My niece (18) is in Denver for inpatient treatment for anorexia.

Resolved Question:

My niece (18) is in Denver for inpatient treatment for anorexia. She once told us she didn't usually purge after eating; she just would not eat. I have been thinking back over the years, and I truly believe she has Munchausen by Proxy. I have talked with my sister (niece's mom) and asked her to explore with her therapist whether she, herself, has Munchausen, and she does not answer me (or, probably, follow through with that discussion with her therapist). Three physicians to whom I have mentioned this whole situation have -- independently of my thoughts about Munchausen -- said my sister has it and one doctor said right out: "She WANTS her daughter to be sick." I would like an outside professional opiniion about whether or not I should try to get through to staff at the center where my niece is so I can express my concerns to them while she is there. Sadly, this is a difficult thing to accomplish, what with all the "privacy" rights, but I would like to know they are aware.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Bill replied 1 year ago.

Bill :

Hello- Thank you for asking the question. I have over 30 years of experience working with individuals, couples and families & am happy to reply.

Bill :

I am happy to help you with this-

Bill :

Are you available to chat now?

Bill :

It is not uncommon for persons with eating disorders to have issues that could be related to this co-existing disorder- Munchausen.

Bill :

As you state- if you see this pattern dating back many years, it is a possibility that this could be a factor.

Bill :

If your niece is in a treatment program- this should be explored as part of the family therapy treatment componant

Customer:

Yes, I am here now.

Bill :

In your view- does your sister have an eating disorder?

Customer:

No, my sister doesn't.

Bill :

or does she have a history of mental illness........

Bill :

I understand you niece does-------often

Customer:

Yes, she is definitely troubled; we were brought up in a very abusive environment -- physically and emotionally.

Bill :

  • Is a parent or caregiver, usually a mother

  • May be a health care professional

  • Is very friendly and cooperative with the health care providers

  • Appears quite concerned (some may seem overly concerned) about their child

  • May suffer from Munchausen syndrome (a related disorder in which a person repeatedly acts as if he or she has a physical or mental illness when he or she is not really sick)

Bill :

Above are primary characteristics of a parent of a child with MBP

Customer:

My sister constantly seeks medical attention. Since it's my understanding about Munchausen that people eventually get to the point where they no longer get attention from others, they begin to "hurt" their child so they have a renewed cause for "needing" sympathy and comforting.

Customer:

The characteristics you listed DO apply.

Bill :

This is true and that is why it is likely that you Sister has Munchausen \

Bill :

Sometimes they often have a similar disorder as the child is experiencing........that is why I asked if you Sister has a history of Eating Disorder

Customer:

Right, I understand that she probably does have Munchausen. My concern, though, is not my sister -- it's my niece. Do you think the staff at ERC in Denver would "listen," and should I "interfere?"

Bill :

If I were you- I would write a letter and FAX it to the Treatment program and the Doctor who is treating her- expressing your concern about this. That way they will get the information and be aware.

Bill :

Because of Confidentiality issues they will not talk to you but when they get the FAX they will read it and then it is known and you have done the best that you can. I would do it if it were my Niece.

Bill :

Particularly in light of the fact that you sister is unstable.

Customer:

Okay, a fax is a good idea -- thank you so much!

Bill :

Anorexia is a potentially deadly problem and any information that you have------- I would share with the Treatment team.

Customer:

I will certainly do that.

Bill :

You are most welcome

Bill :

I wish all the best

Bill :

I appreciate your Positive Rating so that I receive Credit for my time

Bill :

Thank you

Customer:

Thank you.

Bill :

My Pleasure

Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3704
Experience: 35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
Bill and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education