Malingering

Updated: Aug 23, 2017
  • Author: David Bienenfeld, MD; Chief Editor: Randon S Welton, MD  more...
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Overview

Background

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]

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Pathophysiology

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.

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Epidemiology

Mortality/Morbidity

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]

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