Vocabulary for Dissociative, Factitious & Impulse Control Disorders

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  • 0:01 Malingering
  • 0:42 Dissociative Disorders
  • 1:34 Factitious Disorder
  • 2:40 Impulse-Control Disorder
  • 4:04 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Have you ever malingered? I have. Just once. But malingering is often confused with a different disorder. You'll find out what it is as we discuss dissociative, factitious and impulse control disorders.


I remember when I was very little, I didn't want to go to school one particular time. That was actually really rare for me, but on this day, I was just not in the mood. So, I decided to fake being sick, and my parents called me in sick as a result. Well, suffice it to say, that was the one and only time in my life I ever pretended to be sick with a clear motive in mind, something called 'malingering'.

However, there are people who do this all of the time solely for attention as opposed to a clear motive like in my case, and it's classified as an actual disorder. You'll learn the proper terms for this as we define factitious disorders, dissociative disorders and impulse-control disorders.

Dissociative Disorders

Dissociative disorders are disorders where there is a disconnect between a person's thoughts, surroundings, identity, consciousness and memory. These characteristics are, in essence, an involuntary escape from reality that usually arises as a response to a traumatic event, like military combat.

Symptoms of dissociative disorders include:

  • Memory loss of specific times, people and events
  • Mental health issues, such as depression
  • A sense of detachment from your emotions or yourself
  • A blurred sense of self-identity

One type of dissociate disorder is called dissociative identity disorder, formerly called 'multiple personality disorder'. This is a condition where two or more distinct personality states or identities exist within the same person and alternately control that person's consciousness and behavior.

Factitious Disorder

The next psychiatric condition I want to go over sort of harkens back to my intro. A factitious disorder is a condition where a person's physical or mental symptoms and/or signs are under voluntary control. The term comes from the word 'factitious,' which means artificially produced.

Someone with a factitious disorder pretends to be sick or purposefully produces symptoms or signs of disease onto themselves because they are attached to the idea of being ill and being taken care of or sympathized with while ill. They have no other motivation, like missing work or school as per malingering, other than what I mentioned.

What's worse is a subset of factitious disorder called 'factitious disorder by proxy' or 'factitious disorder imposed on another,' where someone, usually a caregiver (typically a mother), feigns physical or psychological symptoms in another person (such as a child). In this specific instance, it's a form of child abuse and the caregiver enjoys the attention they receive from having a sick child.

Impulse-Control Disorders

Perhaps people guilty of factitious disorder by proxy need to control their need for attention. There are people, however, who cannot resist an impulse to do something.

They may have an impulse-control disorder, a condition where the person cannot control their tendency to gratify an immediate desire even when the consequences upon themselves and/or others may be potentially harmful.

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