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Doctors Share Telltale Signs That A Patient Is Faking

Doctors Share Telltale Signs That A Patient Is Faking
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

It's a medical professional's job to care for others, providing a calm safety net to reassure us we're in safe hands and all of our pain will be handled. However, there are those who take advantage of this job responsibility. They fake symptoms, hoping for some misplaced attention and, occasionally, drugs. Thankfully, experienced doctors and nurses know how to figure out when a patient isn't being totally honest.

Reddit user, u/LushLover13, wanted to know what signs to look out for when they asked:

Doctors of Reddit, what are the dead giveaway signs that someone is faking?

You Shouldn't Be Able To Hear Me Right Now

cant hear homer simpson GIFGiphy

My sister is a pediatric audiologist and this is my favorite story of hers.

Apparently, sometime in elementary school (usually the early grades), a ton of kids like to fake hearing loss. Like not just "oh, I can't hear the teacher." Full on, want to get hearing aids, etc.

Anyway, she explained to me that based on the way she plays the tones, you can usually tell if someone is faking. Especially when they just pretend they can't hear anything. But it's not 100%, obviously, because hearing loss patterns can be really weird.

However, she's caught a number of kids simply by saying, "okay, so I'm going to play [a random number] of tones and they'll go in both ears. I want you to say 'yes' if you hear it and 'no' if you don't."


It's Not The Same When You're Down Under

Your Chest moving if you're pretending to be in a coma, (former floor nurse)


You should still be breathing during a coma, right?


Well yes, but it is smaller movements that you wouldn't be able to replicate without some sort of electrode it should also be known, that. In a coma your breathing is in an Agonial state. (Sounds similar to Vader in a way) if your breathing heavily to get the sound, a well trained ear and eye will motic


Don't Want The Cure, Only A Temporary Fix

They are hesitant about things that would fix their pain and want drugs in the meantime.

Also, when I look to see what they've been prescribed recently it has dozens of opioids from as many doctors.

Source; I get about 1 drug seeker a week.


That's...That's Not How Seizures Work.

Not a doc, but an EMT.

Had a patient with "seizures". Showed up to her violently and non-rhythmically shaking in the bed. Gathered history from husband who denied hx of sz. I'll leave out the other hx that kinda clued me to faking for this next bit.

Now, part of my assessment for sz like activity is to check a blood glucose. However the patient kept pulling her finger in when I was trying to stick it. I casually said "ma'am if you don't keep your finger extended I may stick you with this needle (JUST A LANCET) in the webbing of your fingers and it's going to hurt I need you to hold your finger still". Lo and behold her index finger extended and stayed still, while the rest of her shook. Bg was WNL.

She also tried to feign unconsciousness but the arm drop test (not sure the actual name, if anyone knows) said otherwise.

Followed up later and the ED said this patient was a frequent flyer and she became belligerent and left AMA after she was denied versed and oxy.


What Are They Asking For?

I'm a nurse on a floor that deals with a lot of chronic and acute pain patients.

Most recent instance was this lady from a few weeks ago that was apparently splitting the Oxycodone we were giving her in half in her mouth and then when the nurse's backs were turned, she would stuff it in a pill jar. A night nurse caught her in the act and all of her sh-t had to be searched. We found 20 half tablets of Oxycodone she had been stashing. She told us that she was "saving them for her family in case they need them because it's just so hard to get an Oxycodone prescription these days."

I had her a few days after that, and she was having some abdominal pain (STAT x-ray showed only gas. She just really needed to fart.) But she was screaming, claiming it was a 10, and making a huge f-cking scene. She DEMANDED Dilaudid through her IV, and she wanted it to be pushed fast. Huge red flag right there. She wanted the high, not the relief. Doc straight up said he wouldn't give her Dilaudid because she was already on so many opiates. She then demanded Lorazepam, still through her IV of course. Doc was like fine whatever, just one time and only a low end dose.

I was flushing her IV with normal saline first (to make sure her IV was patent) and she leans back and is like "OOOOoooo that's so much better already". Hadn't even given her the Lorazepam yet, smdh.


If You Need Help, Just Be Honest

Not a doctor but a therapist. For some reason adolescents like faking DID (formerly multiple personality disorder). It's a pretty rare and debated diagnosis in our field. I've seen people fake it by mimicking how it's portrayed in movies and on tv. Red flags are them telling you, "I have multiple personality disorder" and, of course, not meeting the actual diagnostic criteria. Some people feel like the common diagnoses aren't big or special enough to accurately represent their struggles, so they cosplay something worse.

Whatever you're working through is a big deal to us! If you feel like you have to fake or exaggerate your symptoms for your therapist, consider finding a different therapist.


Need To Fix The TV Before Having A Seizure. Right.

Nurse here, I had a teenager overdose on Zoloft and start having strange seizure like episodes. What made them particularly strange is that they all followed a predictable pattern of onset. First, he would lower the bed, next he would turn the tv volume down, and finally he would check to see if i was nearby. There was pretty severe thrashing about without any abnormalities in breathing, heart rate, pupils and he was still able to communicate with me throughout the entire episode. Unsurprisingly, EEG also failed to show any abnormalities.


Just Something To Casually Say Aloud In The Room

happy season 4 GIFGiphy

"If someone is truly unconscious, their thumb always wiggle"

Just say that out loud to yourself


Moms: I always know when you're lying because your ears turn red when you lie.

Kids: cover their ears when they lie



When someone says he has a migraine and yet has a normal blood pressure reading. Although unrelated, the stress and pain from a migraine will usually cause a localised hypertensive event. Therefore, a normal blood pressure reading is a dead giveaway sign that the person is faking it.


None Of This Matches Up

EMT here, I've had a hypochondriac patient and his main tell was his reaction to what his complain was completely inappropriate. He called saying he thought it was a GI bleed (something you won't be able to tell by itself). His words were "I can feel my intestine bleeding I'm going to die and I can't breathe"

SpO2 (% of O2 in your blood) was 97% in room air, blood pressure 130/80 ish (normal range, in a bleed like a GI it would drop significantly) and he had no history of GI issues (hernias). We get him in the truck and he begins to scream at the top of his lungs (if your GI hurts you wouldn't do that)

Completely inappropriate behavior and vitals for the complaint


Be Skeptical, Not Cynical

Nurse here

Found out that if a patient is faking unconsciousness hold their hand over their face and let it drop. If faking the hand always misses the face.

Have also found patient having a convincing seizure, but ruined it by putting their head up part way through to see who was looking.

That said, with all the fakery out there it can be really easy to get jaded and cynical and its really important to ensure that we dont miss stuff


Knowing Exactly What They Want

When they ask for a specific medication, typically an opiate or other strong pain relief medication, especially when you as the practitioner haven't even mentioned any need for medication. Textbook answers for any and all questions. Demanding ____ med and not realizing what the scientific name the doctor recommends instead is something like aspirin or similar.


Knuckle To Chest

If someone is unconscious, make a fist and rub your knuckles against their sternum (chest bone). Put some pressure behind it and rub quickly up and down (up towards chin, down towards belly button). It's called a sternal rub and is incredibly painful, but won't harm the person. It very, very hard to completely ignore and continue with the ruse of faking being unconscious.

The only more sure thing is asking your partner to hand you the eye needle to take some ocular fluid while they're passed out so they won't feel the pain of the needle in their eye.


Tricky Tricky Tricky

My wife is a doctor and she had dealt with people faking things like one of their legs simply not working.

The trick is to tell them to do some other thing with a positive phrasing making it seem like doing so will prove the patient's story is true, while it proves the opposite. this works for both people who are actively faking it and people who have subconsciously convinced themselves the problem is real.

For example, if they say their right leg can't move, you first ask them to try lifting it which they try and obviously fail to move or flex any muscles in it. Then you act intrigued and say something like "now your left leg is the one that works fine right? go ahead and lift it up for me for comparison." While they are doing this, you still casually have your hand on their right leg which you had placed there when you were feeling for any activity when they "tried" to lift it. Now when the person is laying there and lifts their left leg to prove their right one doesn't work, they will naturally flex their right leg to provide balance with their left leg in the air. If they are able to flex their right leg then but won't even flex it when they claim to be trying to move it, then you know their leg still works you just have to narrow down if they realize are faking it intentionally.


Just Because It's A Seizure Doesn't Mean I Have To Be Uncomfortable

Not a doctor but a paramedic. Tons of calls to the jail for inmates with "seizures", I lift the arm over their face and let it go they'll move it to prevent hitting their face or I'll lightly brush their eyelashes and they'll twitch to it


Even Wiping The Butt?

Whenever the symptoms aren't there when the patient doesn't know they're being watched. I had someone fake a stroke recently and walked in on her walking around her room independently (after pretending to be limp on her left side, letting us take complete care of her and wiping her butt for her).

It was wild, y'all


Fake It If You Want, I'm Still Sticking This Needle In You

flu shot GIFGiphy

I'm not a physician but a paramedic. Honestly I don't really care if you're faking as long as its halfway believable. I'm still going to treat it as the worst case scenario. Faking a seizure? You'll get a full set of vitals, a blood sugar and a shot of benzos. Theres lots of different types of seizures. If you call 911 because you're in extreme pain and want an ambulance ride I'll put the good drugs in your vein hole. I'd rather give 100 drug seakers a 100 mcg of fentanyl than withhold it for the one person that really needs it. Can I tell if someone is faking? Yeah, most times but it goes both ways. If you go too hard I might assume you have a legit life threatening injury and sedate, paralyze and intubate you. Or start IV's in you jugular or shin bone.

Fake it if you want but traction may vary.


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People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.