Home » Secondary Gain Reinforces Misconceptions About Invisible Disabilities

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Secondary Gain Reinforces Misconceptions About Invisible Disabilities

(Last Updated On: March 6, 2018)

powerful thoughts memeThe placebo effect can be a double-edged sword. Yes, definitely what you think impacts how you feel. This has been demonstrated to the point where it is no longer in dispute. However, it doesn’t mean our disease(s) is all in our heads.

But did you know that there is a recognized medical thingy called “secondary gain”? (I use “thingy” in place of the word I cannot recall at the moment.) It was even taught in my nursing Master’s program.

Secondary gain is the “good” things that go along with being disabled

Such as no longer needing to work because Social Security pays you instead, taking your dog with you into stores and restaurants, people feeling sorry for you in a way that makes them want to help, government programs that mean you pay nothing or a sliding scale for some services, getting a break on your rent if you live in designated housing. free or low-cost transportation to doctor appointments, the list goes on and on.

We know this is total BS and would give it all up to be healthy again

Unfortunately, this misconception that we remain sick to reap all these benefits is often at the root of why some people think we’re faking illness.

The thinking is that once a doctor can’t find anything wrong, then you can convince yourself you are fine. If you aren’t willing to do this then it’s because of secondary gain.

After all, so this line of thinking continues, you wouldn’t be able to go running from doctor to doctor looking for something wrong if you had to come up with a copay for the visits. If the taxpayer (and here they usually put a hand on their chest) wasn’t paying for this unnecessary expense through Medicare and Medicaid.

I would go close to ballistic whenever someone voiced that kind of opinion when I was working in hospitals. It’s possible I changed some minds. I’d like to think so.

Unfortunately, most Republicans in Congress, in our medical facilities and in our neighborhoods honestly believe in secondary gain, although they won’t admit it unless among like-minded friends and co-workers. That’s the whole reason behind the new work requirements for welfare, after all.

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