Monday, January 11, 2016


Pathological lying, also known as mythomania, is compulsive, chronic or habitual lying.  The individual may be aware that they are lying, or that they are telling the truth.  Pathological lying may be extensive and very complicated.  It may manifest over a period of years or even a lifetime.  The stories are not a manifestation of delusion or some broader type of psychosis.  The tales are dazzling and fantastical, but they could be plausible.  Upon confrontation, the liar can admit the tales are untrue, even if unwillingly.  The tendency to fabricate is chronic; it is not provoked by the immediate situation or social pressures.  It is more a personality trait.  Pathological lying may be also present as false memory syndrome, where the sufferer genuinely believes that imagined events have taken place.  The person may believe that he/she did accomplish superhuman feasts, awe-inspiring acts of love or has committed acts of evil, for which he/she must atone or already has atoned in his/her fantasies.  Pathological lying is a stand alone disorder, as well as, a symptom of other disorders.  This disorder is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition.  Excessive lying is a common symptom of several mental illnesses, such as psychopathy and antisocial, narcissistic and histronic personality disorders.  People who are pathological liars may not possess characteristics of these other disorders.  Sufferers make false statements knowingly, intentionally and willfully.  Most people do so out of fear.  Normal lies are defensive and are told to avoid the consequences of truth telling.  They are often white lies that spare someone's feelings.  Pathological lying is considered a mental illness, because it takes over rational judgement.  The individual lies for no personal gain.  The lies are trans-parent and often seems pointless.  It has been shown through lie detector test, that pathological liars exhibit arousal, stress and guilt from their deception.  This is different from psychopaths.  They experience none of those reactions.  Psychotherapy appears to be one of the only methods to treat a sufferer.  No research has been performed regarding the use of pharmaceutical medication.  This is a complex phenomenon, differing from other mental illnesses.  Currently, there is not enough research in this area to guarantee a cure.

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