Pathological Liar Disorder

People who continually lie and manipulate to get their way are termed as having a psychiatric deficiency, which is termed as pathological liar disorder. The medical term used to describe a pathalogical liar is Pseudologia fantastica.
It is not easy to diagnose people with a pathological liar disorder, after all, unlike Pinocchio their noses don't grow when they lie. In childhood, most of us are taught that lying is bad and we should never lie, our elders tell us stories like 'Pinocchio' to help us understand the evil of lying. Mythomania or as it is commonly known as pathological liar disorder is often a symptom of other psychological disorders. There have been many studies to show that pathological lying is a neurological disorder but their isn't enough scientific data to prove it. It also will not be reasonable to deem pathological lying as a moral deficiency. In many cases pathological lying is the symptom of having an anti-social personality disorder or narcissistic personality disorder.

It is misconceived that habitual liars and pathological liars are the same, actually they are quite different in many ways. Pathological liars lie to manipulate or cheat their way to achieve their goals and targets, for them lying is of no consequence. These people lie without caring for the effects of their lies on other people around them. The stories these people fabricate are sometimes very convincing and it is difficult to know when they are lying or telling the truth. The pathological liar treatment is difficult because the reason for lying is not external circumstances, it's mostly inner turmoil. A pathological liar will lie for no apparent reason and will not feel guilty for the consequences of lying. Low self-esteem and egotistical nature are believed to be some of the reasons behind pathological liar disorder. In an experiment which involved the participation of juvenile delinquents it was found that about 1 percent had antisocial personality disorder and showed signs of being pathological liars. One of the simplest ways to spot a pathological liar is that they change their stories from time to time, because they forget their lies. Although there are some who do not forget their lies and stick with them, a dictator ones said that 'if you repeat a lie again and again it becomes the truth.'

Some of the signs of pathological liars are, that these people use lies to control a situation and get what they want. They exaggerate almost everything from their job description to relationships, and personality traits, a perfect example of compulsive lying is of a person who lied to his colleagues about owning a pet. This does not seem to be so horrific but he used to talk about his love for the pet dog almost every day and even used to take leaves from work saying he needed to take his pet to a vet. A pathological liar will give justifications about lying when caught, or fabricate implausible stories in defense. One of the major signs is denial, they do not accept that they lie and this becomes a big hurdle when it comes to the treatment for a pathological liar.


There are no clear guidelines on how to treat pathological lying as there is not much research on this specific disorder. It is mostly treated as a symptom of other personality disorders like Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) and Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD). If you are wondering, how is pathological lying treated, well there are no set guidelines for treatment, a combination of psychotherapy and neurological medications are used in the treatment process. Breaking the denial of the pathological liar is one of the most vital and difficult tasks of treatment and this may take extensive therapy and patience. There are some tests which a psychiatric expert may perform to determine a course of treatment but these might be inconclusive. If you are a friend or family member of a person suffering from compulsive lying, you will need a lot of patience to deal with this person as they do not believe that they have a problem. Cognitive behavioral therapy is also known to be used effectively in treating people with pathological liar disorder.

One of the most under researched psychological problem is the pathological liar disorder, as there is conflict, whether it is a psychological disorder or a neurological problem. There are no defined treatment procedures although there are a combination of therapies tried by medical experts to understand and deal with the disorder.
By Indrajit Deshmukh
Published: 7/23/2010
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