Malingering disorder (In-depth guide)

Malingering disorder
JuanitaHFNE

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behaviour, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.


This article will provide you with the details related to Malingering disorder and all the other aspects that link to this disease. Not only that, but also you’ll get in-depth information about Malingering disorder causes, symptoms, and possible treatments.

Malingering disorder (In-depth guide)

Malingering disorder is the deliberate generation of bogus or overstated physical or mental manifestations, inspired by outside motivators. Malingering disorder os a type of mental disorder in which a person fakes his illness. In other words, this person will act as if he/she has a psychological or physical illness. Malingering usually should be separated from the artificial issue.

Many people get confused while understanding the meaning of Malingering disorder. It is a type of mental disorder in which a person will act as if he/she is sick. Artificial behavior doesn’t mean that the person is suffering in real. Some might be sick mentally but very rarely. Most of the people who have this mental disorder fake their illness through lies, makeup, and many other things.

Prevalence:

Mostly malingering is seen in people who have life issues or bad life experiences. People who have a mental disorder have higher chances of getting malingering. Mostly youngsters are affected by this mental disorder, and people who are in the hospital or those who have a very abusive experience may show the Malingering behavior and fake their illness.

At-risk populations:

People who have sad life experiences have this mental disorder. Toxic and psychotic people can get Malingering disorders, as well.

Fraudulent behavior:

A person suffering from such type of a mental disorder will fake his/her behavior to act like if they are hurt. Mostly a person will pretend a bruise or a scar to act as if they are physically hurt. It doesn’t mean that a person cannot be bothered. It means that they are mostly faking it.

Most common causes of Malingering disorder

As far as the Malingering disorder is concerned, its exact cause is not known; however, many other factors contribute to this mental disease, which can cause severe problems for people. Some of the most common causes of this mental disorder are as follows:

  • A child facing neglect in childhood can severely develop this order.
  • A person having multiple personalities can suffer from this order.
  • People who have faced profound emotional abuse can have this mental disorder.
  • A person who has a deep history of abuse can have this mental illness.
  • People who want to gain something through unfair means can suffer from this disorder.
  • People who have very high mood swings also have this mental disease.

Generally, people have faced trauma in the past or have felt being neglected in childhood suffer from Malingering disorder. This mental disorder is caused by psychological factors than physical factors.

Malingering disorder (In-depth guide)

Symptoms of Malingering disorder

The exact symptoms of Malingering disorder are very hard to tell because the person may fake it. However, there are some common behaviors seen among patients who have this mental disorder as given below:

  • The patient may not want to go to the doctor.
  • The patient will not want to be diagnosed or answer any questions to the doctor.
  • Such patients mostly deny the existence of a particular problem.
  • They are trying to change the conversation to hide their problems.
  • I am making falsified claims and statements to hide a criminal act.

Malingering is a profound exaggeration of an illness. Many people show the behavior of Malingering to escape stressful situations. For example, you’ll see criminals avoiding the more significant punishments with the fake illness drama. They fake their mental or physical illness to trick the police or the court to get bail. This behavior is seen in criminals.

Apart from the criminals, Malingering disorder is also shown by people who have been hospitalized for a very long time. Often such patients want to escape the environment of the hospital, but since it is bad for their health, they potentially cannot escape the hospital. So they start faking their illness to gain more sympathy and to release their frustration.

Malingering disorder (In-depth guide)

Possible treatments of Malingering disorder

Malingering disorder is not easy to cure because its exact causes are tough to figure. Most people who fake their physical or mental illnesses have this mental disorder. Whether its a youngster or a person in his 50s, they all have chances to suffer from this disease.

Now the question is if there are any possible treatments of this disease, and the answer to that question is that there are specific treatments for this mental disorder. The best possible procedure to diagnose Malingering is psychological treatment. It helps find out whether the person is suffering from Malingering disorder or not.

A team of highly professional and trained psychologists will carry out the diagnosis. Not only that, this helps treat the disease, but also it will help restore the mental health of the one suffering from this disease. Asking to the point and authentic questions to the patient with care and comfort will also help the patient behave and feel sane around the doctors.

The best possible treatment is never to question the patient directly. If you are a doctor, then you must make sure that you do not ask multiple questions to the patient all of a sudden. It will not only puzzle the patient but also he/she will most probably hesitate to answer any of your questions.

Affection therapy: When it comes to treating Malingering, psychologists can also try Affected treatment. Affection therapy works in many cases when you have to address this mental and ill behavior. This is because these patients need love and attention. They have already faced so much trauma and toxic behavior in the past that they get fed up with everything in life.

This causes irritation and aggressive behavior which leads to Malingering to escape from life problems and the public in general, These people need love and affection, and hence they should be treated with an affectionate behavior. Affection therapy helps a lot in treating patients with Malingering.

Most appropriate diagnosis

When it comes to Malignant disorder, one must always make sure that these problems should be diagnosed properly to get to their roots.

Patient’s history: When it comes to diagnosis, the first and foremost step is to evaluate patients’ history, Now this involves clinical history as well to find out whether the patient had any health problems in life before the Malingering or not. The patient’s history is beneficial when it comes to diagnosing this fake illness based behavior of the patient. Therefore the doctor should always begin the diagnosis from the patient’s history.

Physical exams: When it comes to Malingering, the patient can also fake physical illness as well. For that, you can always conduct thorough physical tests and reviews of the patient. This will help find out whether the patient is suffering from a physical problem or not. This will also help you get to the root of the problem fast. These tests will quickly show you if a patient is faking it or if he/she is suffering from a physical problem. Therefore conducting a physical exam of the patient is crucial.

Psychological exam: Lastly, it is crucial to conduct a psychological, therapeutic review of the patient. Psychological exam is very helpful and a lot more beneficial than physical treatments when it comes to the diagnosis of Malingering. It is always beneficial to conduct a therapy session first and then do the clinical tests of the patient like blood tests etc. 

Most patients suffering from this mental behavior need extra attention, and someone who can listen to their problems. Mostly therapy sessions work in finding out whether the person is suffering from a mental disease of faking it. Therefore doctors should always consult with a team of psychologists for treating Malingering.

Best helpful resources:

  1. One of the books that you can study to get information related to Malingering disorder is Clinical assessment of Malingering and Deception, fourth edition. This book is easily available, and you can get valuable information from it.
  2. Another book that you can get for yourself is Psychological evaluations for the courts, fourth edition — a handbook for mental health professionals and lawyers.
  3. There is another book entitled: Malingering, Feigning, and Response Bias in Psychiatric/ Psychological Injury: Implications for Practice and Court. This book has valuable information related to Malingering.
  4. Another essential resource through which you can get information related to this mental disorder is: Neurological Malingering
  5. Here’s another resource that provides details associated with this mental disorder: Clinical Assessment of Malingering and Deception

Conclusion:

Many people suffer from mental illnesses that they do not know anything about. It is always better to get a monthly checkup, especially if you have a family member that shows weird, toxic behavior. 

Malingering disorder is partially curable with proper therapy with the help of a team of psychologists. No one should believe that it can’t be cured. Everything can be cured with a strong will and commitment. These patients need extra care and love as they have a mental disease. Always prefer getting the help of a doctor. These doctors will help you in every way possible.

Malingering disorder (In-depth guide)

FAQs

Some important questions related to Malingering disorder are as follows:

What is a malingering diagnosis?

Malingering can be due to multiple different reasons. It could be an artificial disorder, somatic system disorder, depression, or mood disorders. Mostly Malingering is linked to a psychological disease that can be treated with the help of therapy and treatment prescribed by the doctors.

What is Malingered psychosis?

Often people who have committed a big crime hide behind the Malinger psychosis. They act as if they are physically hurt or mentally ill. They do this to escape the prison punishments. Moreover, people who have been hospitalized for a very long time also show the Malingered psychosis.

What is an example of Malingering?

One of the most common examples of Malingering is that some people would fake a bruise on their faces. Such patients also use makeup to create a fake black, bruised eye. Not only that, but also people who want to claim property or face the court trials also show the behavior of Malingering.

How common is Malingering?

Malingering is quite common in people who have abused family history, neglect childhood memories, or unfortunate life experiences. People also show fake illness behavior to escape more significant problems.

What is the difference between Malingering and factitious disorder?

The main difference between Malingering disorder and factitious disorder is that Malingering is not considered as a mental illness, whereas the fictitious disease is regarded as a mental illness.

What is Malingering by proxy?

Malingering as a proxy is a form of behavior in which a patient fakes his/her illness to gain sympathy or to escape a bigger problem. This behavior is seen in children, adults, and youngsters in general.

References:

  1. WebMD
  2. Amazon-Clinical-Assessment-Malingering-Deception-Third
  3. Psychologytoday- malingering
  4. Psychiatryonline

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