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Persistent Illness-Mischaracterization Syndrome (PIMS)


Senior Member
DEAR MODERATOR - is this entry OK???


Persistent Illness-Mischaracterization Syndrome (PIMS) is a complex somatoform disorder, known to afflict individuals occupationally exposed to psychiatric researchers. Susceptible individuals suffer a significant impairment in their ability to act reasonably.

The working definition of PIMS requires a case:

1. Of clinically evaluated, unexplained, persistent or relapsing tendency to systematically mischaracterize one or more illness; this tendency must be of new or definite onset (has not been lifelong) and persist for at least 6 months; must not be the result of ongoing exertion; must be adhered to unquestioningly, irrespective of available logic and evidence; and must be acted upon by the patient in the most forceful ways at his or her disposal, irrespective of the consequences. The tendency may manifest in clinical, advocacy and/or research contexts;
2. To not have a history of other clinical conditions that may produce similar symptoms. These conditions include malignancy; infection; auto-immune disease; depression; personality disorder; schizophrenia; drug dependency or abuse; the side effects of medication; or cretinism.

The definition also requires the concurrent occurrence of 4 or more of the following shopping list of symptoms, which must also have been present for at least 6 months:

- Impaired cognitive processing
- Delusions of a new type or severity
- Uncontrollable urges to prescribe inappropriate therapies
(This may include a propensity to section individuals without sound cause)
- Unremitting compassion suppression
- Red hair
- Hair of a colour other than red
- Recalcitrant dishonesty
- Unrefreshing church confessions
- Paranoia manifesting as unreasonable fear of physical persecution from the PIMS patients innocent victims
- Hair of an indeterminate colour that might or might not be classified as red

A case of idiopathic illness mischaracterization is defined as clinically evaluated, unexplained illness mischaracterization that fails to meet criteria for PIMS. The reasons for failing to meet the criteria should be specified.

The Syndrome can occur sporadically or in cluster form. These alterative onset modes should be sub-grouped before analysis occurs in research studies of PIMS.
Cluster cases are characterised by sudden onset of PIMS in response to direct exposure to known high-severity cases.
The mechanism of transmission is hysterical contagion.
It should be noted that the most susceptible individuals are those subject to immediate career advancement prospects at the time of their exposure.
Famous recent cluster outbreaks have occurred in Atlanta and London.

Sporadic cases are associated with both gradual and sudden Syndrome onset. Multiple psychological factors predispose certain individuals to this form of PIMS.

The prognosis is poor. There are no documented cases of full recovery from PIMS.

There is no known treatment.

The most promising prospective treatment is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, targeted at correcting false illness beliefs. PIMS patients, however, are highly resistant to undergoing CBT, and the efficacy of the therapy in diminishing the strength of their false illness beliefs is yet to be reliably demonstrated.

The protection of public health warrants that PIMS patients are isolated from others with the condition, and forced to discontinue medical research, advocacy and medical practice in relation to illnesses to which their case PIMS pertains.


Senior Member
The other side.
Surely GMT (Graded Mountain Therapy) would be appropriate in such cases? GMT participants are required to ascend successively increasingly more challenging mountains until a cure is affected. In order to maintain participants safety, safety equipment which hasnt been the subject of successful, large (n>100k), double blind, placebo controlled, peer reviewed studies should not be permitted.

(Note: GMT replaced the much cheaper GCT [Graded Cliff Therapy] in 1978 due to the environmental damage caused by uncooperative GCT participants who had strong false gravitational belief's)


Senior Member
Add one more M and you have a very pleasant summer drink - PIMMS - cucumber lemon borage and all the bits. Should take their minds off their failed diagnosing games.


Near Cognac, France
Could I suggest two more possible symptoms?

- lack of insight (defined as the inability to recognise that their pompous theorising is mere opinion and unwelcome at that);
- empathetic deficit (defined as the inability to appreciate that the patients they denigrate are actual human beings).