Is there a name for this type of illness, which is sort of self-inflicted?

I’ve thought of all the names I know for illnesses that have some kind of origin in the person who is ill: psychosomatic, hypochondriac, malingering, Munchhausen, iatrogenic, and none of the words work for the situation I’m thinking of. The mention by a poster of a relative with diabetes who failed to care for it correctly made me think of it.

Anyway, is there a name for a person who deliberately is non-compliant with instructions to care for an illness in order to benefit in some way? I know I’ve known more than one person who has done it on occasion, but I’m thinking in particular of a woman with diabetes who didn’t care for herself particularly well to begin with, but was never hospitalized except under suspicious circumstances. Three years in a row, she was taken to the hospital just before spring break, with blood sugar crises that ended up in her being admitted, so a relative had to care for her children when they weren’t in school. She also had a couple of crises that got her in the ER for the afternoon when she had things pending that she really didn’t want to do.

Now, I have no proof that she’d take too much insulin, or eat a couple tablespoons of sugar, or something, to make these things happen, but I was always suspicious, and so were some other people who knew her. It was just too darned convenient.

Anyway, is there a name for making a full-blown crises out of a manageable problem, for attention or some other benefit? She wasn’t making herself sick out of nothing; she really did have diabetes. She just used her diabetes to get what she wanted sometimes-- and for the sake of the post, let’s assume she really did, and not debate whether I could be wrong, because all I really want to know is if there’s a word for that behavior.

Sounds like a factitious disorder.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/factitious-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20031319

It’s a catch-all term that can include faking or exaggerating symptoms, but can also include making real symptoms worse or causing a chronic problem to present symptoms.

It might not be as specific as what you’re looking for but I think it applies.

I thought “facetious disorder” was a compulsion to make oneself ill not to any particular end, as opposed to planning it out for some gain, but maybe you’re right.

I suppose you could always call it “malingering by non-compliance.”

It’s not a type of disorder- it’s more of a description of the motivation, but 'secondary gain" seems to fit.

No, “facetious disorder” is the inability to resist making silly jokes in a GQ thread.

Seriously, though, you slightly misquoted Atamasama’s term “factitious disorder”.

You may be exaggerating the conscious element. The woman’s impending difficulties may be increasing her stress, which has an effect on her insulin level. The stress may also increase her need for comfort foods, including sweets. It could also cause insomnia, which is unhealthy overall.

I think malingering is a closer fit to what you were looking for after all. The actions of a malingerer are identical, the difference is the motive. You’re right that there is no disorder in your scenario, rather a person is intentionally abusing their condition to gain free child care in periods of need.

[bolding mine]

I call them malingerers. They are not uncommon.

Opportunism. Okay, it’s not incredibly specific, but it fits!

I don’t think so. I know her for years, and there was a pattern of behavior. She was whiny, and would do anything she could to get other people to do her work for her. She’d been thrown out of one university for cheating on an exam, so even though she was very bright with good grades in high school, and good SAT scores, she just had a degree from a community college. She also used to tell lies about all sorts of things: she’d tell me things, and claim they happened to her that I knew I could go read about on snopes.com (this was in the really early days of the internet, though, so i doubt she knew about snopes).

But nevermind: for the sake of the thread, just assume it’s true, because I just want a word.

Munchausen syndrome?

Just FYI, a factitious disorder can be done for attention, sympathy, leniency, etc. That’s usually the motive, but it’s never being done for “no reason”. See the Wikipedia article:

Someone with a somatic symptom disorder, on the other hand, is unconscious and uncontrollable. Both are considered mental disorders.

By contrast, a malingerer is doing it for a tangible benefit, and it’s not considered a mental disorder. I think of it more along the lines of a scam, and in some cases you can be charged with fraud if caught.

That’s considered a (extreme) form of factitious disorder, though some suggest it’s not done consciously so it should be considered a somatic symptom disorder. In either case, a person with Munchausen isn’t scamming people for tangible gain, so it wouldn’t fit.

ETA: Belatedly disclaiming that I’m not a medical professional, just an IT guy relying on medical sites and Wikipedia.

The OP case appears more fraudulent (not necessarily criminally fraudulent, just “I want my relatives to do my job for me so I can rest” fraudulent) than pathological attention whoring. If it’s the former, she’s a malingerer; if it’s the later, she’s probably on the factitious-munchausen disorder spectrum. Or, it could be a combination of both. No additional terms are needed.

I missed the edit window. It was one of those homophone typos like where you know the difference between “there” and “their,” but you type the wrong one.

Hmmm. I thought maybe the fact that she was abusing her real illness had some actual name. I know it’s “non-compliance,” but it’s non-compliance not out of laziness or denial, but out of a desire to be ill.

I guess that would sum up what I’m looking for: is there a name for “Non-compliance out of a desire to be ill.

But I think it’s more non-compliance in order to gain something by being ill.

For whatever reason-- is there a name for it?

Malingering seems to fit the best.

*"Malingering Basics

Malingerers may engage in many of the same activities as people affected by factitious disorder. However, unlike individuals affected by that disorder, malingerers have clear external motivations that drive their faking and exaggerating behaviors. Common motivations for malingering include insurance fraud or other forms of financial gain, the improper acquisition of controlled medications, shirking of obligations for military service, shirking of work obligations, or an attempt to avoid incarceration for criminal acts.

Malingering is not a form of mental illness. However, people who adopt malingering behaviors often have a diagnosable mental illness called antisocial personality disorder. Individuals with this disorder have a long-standing pattern of involvement in activities that purposefully exploit or manipulate others, or blatantly disregard the legal rights of others. Malingerers also frequently exhibit signs of another personality-related condition, called histrionic personality disorder. Individuals with this condition habitually and reflexively use excessive displays of drama and emotion to gain attention from others."*

What I’m saying is that since it’s an attempt to gain something, that makes it fit the definition of malingering. It’s not being ill for the sake of being ill, but for the sake of prospering. The reason matters.