One of the main things people do on the Internet is research health and medical information. According to a 2012 survey by the Pew Research Internet Project, 72% of American Internet users said they looked online for health information in the past year.
Not only do people look for information from respected sources like WebMD, but people who have illnesses and medical conditions share information with each other in online forums. Along with advice, participants offer each other moral support (much like what happens here at Lovefraud).
Sometimes, however, people talking about their illnesses online are fakes. A Lovefraud reader sent the following link:
This article tells an unbelievable tale of young women going to extremes to portray themselves as terribly ill. It’s long, but keep reading — the story just keeps getting better.
Munchausen syndrome is a psychiatric condition in which people fake illnesses or psychological trauma for the purpose of attracting medical attention and sympathy. So many people are doing this online that one expert has suggested a new psychiatric condition: Munchausen syndrome by Internet.
According to research quoted in The Lying Disease, the people engaging in Munchausen syndrome by Internet are likely motivated by two dominant personality traits: narcissism or sadism.