Pathological Lying





Pathological Lying

Pathological lying, also known as pseudologia fantastica, is a behavior of compulsive or habitual lying. Proponents of medical interventions define the deviant behavior as falsification completely disproportionate to any discerning end in perspective that is very complicated and extensive having manifested itself over a number of years. However, it has not been medically recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, compulsive lying can be considered as a deviant behavior. From a sociological viewpoint, a deviant behavior refers to habits or manners that are contrary to dominant norms of the society. According to sociological theories involving behaviors such as the labeling theory of differential association and structural strain theory, the society dictates the behaviors that one needs to adopt. In cases of deviant behaviors, there are both formal and informal controls that attempt to minimize deviance. One such attempt is medicalization, which involves three distinct steps including conceptualization, institutionalization, and interaction levels.

Mythomania is characterized by an individual lying for reasons best known to him/her. The person might be aware of his/her action’s relation to fantasies or believe in the lies he/she is telling. These individuals are characterized by their dazzling stories that never reach plausible limits, which are neither delusional nor display some form of psychosis. They display some element of decontrol, thus, its onset cannot be blamed on pressure or provocation. In other cases, the pathological lying behavior can result from an internal clinical discerning motive while presenting the lie in a provocative manner. The disease displays close relations to the false memory syndrome where an individual believes in the occurrence or events that are fictitious. The epidemiology of compulsive lying sows a prevalence of the behavior in one out of a thousand infantile offenders with its average onset being 16 years. Notably, such behaviors are linked to abnormalities within the central nervous system such as ADHD, CNS infection, epilepsy, abnormal EEG and head trauma. Bundled with potential benefits such as being excellent marketers for goods due to their lucrative and persuasive language, pathological liars often go unnoticed in the society and they are often mistaken for good businesspersons. Nonetheless, their habits could land them in trouble associated by providing false information regarding different aspects of life and the society. The consequences of such actions could even result in death and other criminal cases.

Diagnosing and treating pseudologia fantastica is a complex process since identification of the lying patterns is difficult. A person might voluntarily decide to or not to lie resulting in potential difficulties in treating the disorder. Therefore, the patient needs to be confined within a mental institution in order to identify the lying patterns, their triggers, and the impacts on the individual in terms of severe cases. At the institutional level, a pathological liar has to be confined within a mental hospital or to visit the psychiatrist frequently. After identification of the patterns, the second step involves conducting a magnetic resonance imaging of the prefrontal volumes, which assists in locating whether the patient suffers from any other cognitive disease. With the knowledge acquired from the tests, treating the condition becomes easier by eliminating the possible causal factors. Progressively, the patient will undergo an intensive counseling session for a period of months depending with the extent with which the patient is affected. Before advocating a counseling session, the patient needs to be advised on the importance of getting treatment by first identifying the fact that they are pathological liars. The program could be done through close relations between the psychiatrist and the patient with evidences of their behavior.


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