Malingering is a medical term used to indicate the feigning of an illness, disorder, disease, or injury for the purpose of harvesting certain gains. A person who is guilty of faking an illness or injury will generally do so to avoid work, college, military service, gain financial benefits, or simply draw sympathy and attention. There almost always will be an ‘ulterior motive’ behind pretending to be sick or suffering from a disorder. The person, medically, is considered a ‘patient’ and treatment for malingering will be dished out accordingly. The treatment is usually psychological and will depend on the core reasons and symptoms behind the act of malingering. However, the problems arise when it gets difficult to ascertain whether a person is feigning a disease and or is genuinely suffering from one. This is when the symptoms of malingering come into play. It is important to consider the symptoms before actually coming to a conclusion and dishing out treatments. Read on to gain access to the symptoms of malingering.
Signs And Symptoms Of Malingering
- A person guilty of malingering will resort to physical methods of faking an illness. The particular individual may try to manipulate the reading of a thermometer, delay the healing of a wound, overdose on prescription drugs, harm him/herself, and induce swelling. All this is done only in the hope of reaping the benefits dished out to a genuinely sick individual.
- A malingering individual will claim that he/she has a disease that the people around him are not familiar with. Knowledge on the disease or sickness will be mopped up from the internet or a medical textbook. However, the posing individual will be extremely reluctant to talk to a doctor or a person who is aware of the disease.
- The ‘patient’ will report an unhealthy medical history to concerned authorities. The patient will claim that he/she has had a history of epileptic seizures/fits or heart attacks. Attempts to validate this claim with medicines will also be made. The medicines will often be taken in the presence of others. This is basically done to gain sympathy and create a bubble of belief.
- The posing individual when starting off to explain his/her ailment will be extremely vocal about it. However, in time, when the patient is questioned progressively on his/her ailment a certain noncooperation will be noticed. The patient’s noncooperation and evasiveness will reach its peak especially when questioned by a doctor or an expert.
- Patients guilty of malingering psychotic disorders will claim that they are plagued with hallucinations and delusions. However, when it eventually boils down to pretending like an individual with a genuine psychotic disorder, the poser’s act may give away. The patient or poser usually cannot fake affective blunting, impaired interpersonal relatedness, or speech impairments.
- Some individuals who pull off their psychotic disorder acts well may not realize that they are only using a double-edged sword in their attempts to get what they want. This is because individuals who are genuinely suffering from a delusional disorder may be completely normal, other than their delusions of course. So feigning a speech impairment to confirm a delusional disorder can only bomb one’s efforts to prove the same.
- This is arguably the most obvious symptom of malingering. The person who’s feigning a disease will usually lack an in depth knowledge on the same. When questioned on the feigned disorder or asked to explain the same, the poser will mostly withdraw into a shell or will just be left speechless. This is only because he/she may not know too much on the disease and would have only feigned the same for selfish gains.