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Malingering Follow-up

  • Author: David Bienenfeld, MD; Chief Editor: Iqbal Ahmed, MBBS, FRCPsych(UK)  more...
Updated: Apr 15, 2015


Hostile or threatening behavior may ensue if the malingerer's claims are challenged, or if the physician fails to respond to his/her demands for disability certification, medications, etc.



Malingering behavior typically persists as long as the desired benefit outweighs the inconvenience or distress of seeking medical confirmation of the feigned illness.


Patient Education

While the physician may wish to educate the patient about better ways of achieving goals than by malingering, the reasons are usually more deeply rooted than just a cognitive deficit and require behavioral interventions, psychotherapy, and counseling.

Family education

The physician should determine whether revealing the malingering to the family will do more harm than good. If the family is adversely affected by the malingering behavior, it may be helpful for family members to know that the evidence is strong that no physical ailment is causing the patient's distress. They may be encouraged to resist the patient's efforts to manipulate them to accommodate the feigned illness at their own. While malingerers are both resistant to accepting psychotherapy and refractory to its benefits, family members may benefit from family counseling to develop adaptive approaches to the malingering behavior.[5, 12]

Contributor Information and Disclosures

David Bienenfeld, MD Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Geriatric Medicine, Wright State University, Boonshoft School of Medicine

David Bienenfeld, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, Association for Academic Psychiatry

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Chief Editor

Iqbal Ahmed, MBBS, FRCPsych(UK) Faculty, Department of Psychiatry, Tripler Army Medical Center; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Clinical Professor of Geriatric Medicine, University of Hawaii, John A Burns School of Medicine

Iqbal Ahmed, MBBS, FRCPsych(UK) is a member of the following medical societies: Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, American Neuropsychiatric Association, American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Royal College of Psychiatrists, American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Barry I Liskow, MD Professor of Psychiatry, Vice Chairman, Psychiatry Department, Director, Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic, The University of Kansas Medical Center

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Diagnostic algorithm for suspicious symptoms.
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