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.