There may be nothing quite so stigmatizing about PTSD as the belief that it's easily faked. People are routinely accused of "milking the system." They assume that faking PTSD is as simple as memorizing the symptoms and reporting them. So how easy is it, really?
I took one of our commonly used psychological tests. This is a measure I know very well. And I set out to fake PTSD, a disorder I know very well. I imagined that I'm trying to present as someone wanting time off work because of PTSD and depression. What would show that I'm really struggling? How would such a person present?
The test I used is designed to not only record people's reported symptoms, but to examine how they approached the test. Were they exaggerating, or minimizing? Do they view themselves especially negatively? How similar are their responses to those of people who are setting out to falsify their results?
I use this test at least once a week. Let's see if I know it well enough to beat the test.