Malingering of Posttraumatic Psychiatric Disorders

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Psychiatric disorders that can occur after a trauma include posttraumatic stress disorder, postconcussion syndrome, depressive disorder, conversion disorder, and, occasionally, psychosis. Symptoms of these disorders can also be malingered after a trauma, usually to obtain financial compensation. Since litigation is common after a traumatic event, clinicians should always consider malingering in their differential diagnosis of posttraumatic psychiatric disorders. The author discusses motivation for malingering posttraumatic disorders, how to identify malingering in a diagnostic context, and how to distinguish malingering from factitious disorders. He then reviews the primary symptoms of the different posttraumatic disorders and explains how clinicians can distinguish genuine from malingered presentations.

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