(Also Known As: Fabricated Mental Illness Suggestions, Faked Mental Illness Suggestions, Munchausen Syndrome Suggestions, Factitious Disorder Suggestions)
(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)
Suggestions for Malingering
Because malingering is not considered primarily as a mental or psychological disorder there are no specific diagnostic tests that can actually confirm malingering is present. Malingering is often difficult to detect when unstructured interviews are solely conducted and the evaluators or clinicians need to exert effort in finding more resources that can be helpful in observing the presence of malingering. This may include interviews with the claimant, their co-worker, family members, treatment providers and reviewing the patient’s clinical records, psychological test reports, work reports, and laboratory investigation.
There are several factors to look for when trying to detect the presence of malingering, which include motivation and the circumstances that suggest claims for reasons other than the illness, exaggerated symptoms, and the activities and behavior of the person that are incongruent to the claims.
There are three basic damaging outcomes of malingering in the society. First, it reduces the productivity of the industry through absenteeism. Second, it results in the depletion of the governmental and private social security, worker and disability compensation and benefits. Thirdly, malingering drains the resources on the medical system. Malingerers often deprive seriously ill individuals with the care they deserve, as malingering can be a waste of time and energy of the medical personnel who could provide better attention and medical care to those who really need it.
Malingering can also obstruct the criminal justice system since it is often used by the convicted to elude a harsher sentence by feigning symptoms of mental illness and other behavioral and psychological disorders. 13
The detection of malingering is a challenge to the clinical evaluators. Psychiatrists often report about 50% of lies from their interview and although lying should not be equated immediately to malingering, it is suggested that clinicians are often in the dilemma of being able to distinguish a genuine, fake, or exaggerated complaints of symptoms based on this demeanor.
There are no litmus tests for malingering and there is no single item of a psychological test that can rule out malingering, other than the direct admission of the person that they are trying to feign their symptoms.
Malingering, however, can co-exist with other psychiatric disorders. Likewise, individuals with psychological disorder may also exaggerate their condition and fake their symptoms. This makes the diagnosis for malingering very hard. But the key to detect malingering is to employ several resources to gather multiple data, such as prolonged interviews and psychological tests.
Could You Have Malingering?
|Antisocial Personality Disorder – conduct disorder, sociopaths, psychopaths, deceitful, manipulative, behavior disorder|
|Factitious Disorder – feigning symptoms, exaggerates physical and psychological condition, |
|Hypochondriasis – fear of having serious disease, misinterpretation of body symptoms|
|Munchausen Syndrome – chronic factitious disorder, faking/feigning of psychological and mental illness, severe|