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


Malingering is not considered a mental illness. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), malingering receives a V code as one of the other conditions that may be a focus of clinical attention. The DSM-5 describes malingering as the intentional production of false or grossly exaggerated physical or psychological problems. Motivation for malingering is usually external (e.g., avoiding military duty or work, obtaining financial compensation, evading criminal prosecution, or obtaining drugs).[1]



Malingering is deliberate behavior for a known external purpose. It is not considered a form of mental illness or psychopathology, although it can occur in the context of other mental illnesses.




Feigning illness in order to receive disability compensation is common in Social Security Disability examinations, occurring in 45.8%-59.7% of adult cases. In 2011, the estimated cost of malingering in medicolegal cases totaled $20.02 billion.[2]

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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