Secondary gain

Advantage gained from holding on longer than necessary to an illness—be it organic or nonorganic. At our practice, the phenomenon of secondary gain is most commonly seen in nonorganic voice and breathing (tracheal or laryngeal) disorders. An example might be that a person consciously or subconsciously maintains “laryngitis” after the initial organic infection has resolved, for the secondary gain of being excused from school or work. In this case the loss of voice is “worth it” as compared with the “gain” achieved. The secondary gain may have to do with attention, avoiding a responsibility, punishing or controlling another person, or possibly other issues.