Can You Fake Mental Illness?

While you may be thinking, “Why would anyone want to fake a mental illness,” you may be surprised to learn that while mental illnesses have their obvious negatives, they also offer a handful of positives. Some of which are even believed to be worth faking it for.

mental illnessWe see hideous crimes committed regularly in society. There is almost always something horrific in the news that you would think, “Clearly that person must be insane to commit such a horrible crime against humanity.” And so, we watch as they choose to plea insanity. Now, the significance of proving insanity in the court room is that if you are deemed insane you are no longer eligible for the death penalty and cannot be held responsible for your actions in the same way a sane person would be, according to the U.S. Criminal Resource Manual. (1) An obvious draw for completely sane people to want to fake a mental illness, right?

You certainly don’t have to commit a horrible crime against humanity to consider the idea of faking a mental illness. Average people, leading average lives attempt to fake mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety often. Again, you may be asking yourself, “Why?” People with mental illnesses, similar to physical illnesses, receive attention. People want to hear about your struggle and help you cope or even help you overcome your mental illness. People who strongly desire attention may seek it through faking sick, mentally. But is it possible?

According to the Queensland government, “It is extremely difficult to ‘fake’ mental illness, particularly for an extended period of time.” (2) While someone may be able to imitate depression-like or insanity-like symptoms for a short period of time, eventually ones’ true colors will begin to show. In addition, a series of tests have been specifically put in place to weed out any potential fakers when it comes to pleading insanity within the court room.

It is important to note that while people who attempt to fake a mental illness for whatever benefit entices them often has an underlying root cause. They may have a great need for attention from others or enjoy lying and fooling people. Or they simply want an escape from the responsibility of the crimes they commit. Whatever the case may be, it’s important for us to look beyond the failed attempt to deceive.

From the court room to the dinner table and everywhere in-between, you may witness someone who attempts to fake a mental illness. Whether it be insanity, depression, anxiety, or another form of mental illness, there are a variety of benefits that comes with faking it. But don’t be alarmed. Faking a mental illness is extremely difficult, especially for an extended period of time. It turns out, you can’t fake it!

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation

 

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Sources:

  1. Criminal Resource Manual, Perks of pleading insanity, 2015, http://www.justice.gov/usam/criminal-resource-manual-634-insanity-defense-reform-act-1984
  2. Frequently Asked Questions about Mental Illness, Difficult to fake mental illness quote, 2006, https://www.health.qld.gov.au/forensicmentalhealth/indigenous/docs/ind_fs1.pdf
Tom Naratadam

Tom Naratadam, Psy.D., LCPC

Dr. Tom Naratadam chicago illinoisDr. Tom Naratadam earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and both his Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) and Masters Degree in School Psychology (Ed.S.) from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  He completed his Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) certification in Illinois in 2015.  His professional work experience is diverse and includes work in multiple settings including residential, inpatient, outpatient, community mental health, group private practice, and school-settings throughout the Metro Chicagoland area.

Dr. Naratadam has worked as an outpatient provider with Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. since 2010. In addition to his work with Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C., Dr. Naratadam works as a bilingual school psychologist at the Chicago Public Schools – performing extensive diagnostic testing and spearheading group therapy with children and adolescents.

Dr. Naratadam has expertise working in multicultural populations and has conducted numerous workshops on cross-cultural issues related to the Latino and Asian-Indian cultures. His experience also includes several years of assessing and working with children and adolescents who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Conduct and Mood Disorders, and issues related to adolescent sexuality and identity.

Dr. Naratadam is proud of his Asian-Indian heritage. He enjoys traveling, enjoying Chicago’s wide array of restaurants, and spending time with his family and friends. Dr. Naratadam is fluent in Spanish.

Mark Parisi

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D.

Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D., Licensed Clinical PsychologistDr. Mark Parisi is Licensed as a Clinical Psychologist In Illinois and Florida.

He earned his Master of Arts (M.A.) in Clinical Psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago in 1991. Dr. Parisi went on to earn a Master of Science (M.S.) in Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology and his Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) Degree in Clinical Psychology from Florida Institute of Technology In 1995.

He is also certified as a Professional Mediator through the Association of Conflict Resolution Institute. Dr. Parisi finished his internship and residency while serving on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1995 – 1998 and specialized in Child and Adolescent Psychology, Community Mental Health, and Traumatic Stress Disorders.  He deployed overseas to the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, in 1997 with the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army as part of Task Force 2-87.  He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) for his active duty military service in 1998. Dr. Parisi has worked post-residency since 1998 and opened his practice in the Chicagoland area back in 2000.

He has served as a consultant to schools and businesses on a wide variety of mental health topics.  As a child psychologist, Dr. Parisi has worked as a child advocate, as a consultant for Head Start, and as a pediatric evaluation and treatment expert.  He has highly specialized training in disruptive behavior disorders of childhood under Drs. Russell Barkley and Robert Brooks.

At his clinic, Dr. Parisi maintains a broad-based practice serving children as young as three years old and adults well into their golden years.  He provides individual, group, family, and couples’ therapy utilizing a Cognitive-Behavioral / Solution-Focused treatment style.  In his work as an I/O Psychologist, Dr. Parisi has performed personnel selection and job analysis for both military and civilian agencies.

In addition to his work as child psychologist, Dr. Parisi has a sub-specialty in geriatrics and has worked tirelessly as a champion for mental health issues among the elderly and chronic mentally ill.  He serves as a consultant to several area nursing homes and long term care facilities and designs state-of-the-art programs tailored to the unique needs of skilled nursing facilities around Metro Chicagoland.

Dr. Parisi grew up in Park Ridge.  He is married and lives with his family in Skokie where he enjoys family time, attending movies and plays, reading, hiking, and running.  Dr. Parisi is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Skokie Valley Rotary Club.  He presently serves as a Lieutenant Commander in the Medical Service Corps of the U.S. Naval Reserves and is a veteran of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division.