Friday, February 10, 2017
Mentally Ill? Barely.
I've touched upon the subset of the mentally ill population whom I believe is most impaired. On the opposite end of the spectrum there are those who pretend to be mentally ill. They are referred to as malingerers. They pretend to be sick for secondary gain, that is, hospitalization or a crisis unit stay. Although the most common reason for this is to secure "three hots and a cot" because of homelessness, there are other reasons. For instance, they might have just encountered a drug deal gone wrong and now are in danger of getting killed, thus need to hide out. Or, they might want to build a case to try getting financial benefits from the government.
I want to give attention to this population not because I believe they deserve to occupy my brain space. It should be shouted from the rooftops that they are part of the problem. They occupy precious and limited bed space. They waste health care resources. They waste our tax dollars.
How prevalent is this problem? I haven't found any state specific or nationwide statistics when I searched for this. However, I tracked one hundred cases in a row randomly dispatched to me in order to see what percentage of these were malingering. The results were alarming.
In graduate school at Columbia University, the possibility that patients could lie about their mental states never crossed my mind. When searching for continuing education courses to take in order to maintain my license, I've never come across this topic. When clinicians are educated about how to identify malingering, they are better prepared to show them the exit door rather than enable them.
Posted by Lynn at 10:03 PM