By Brittany Olivarez from Helping Psychology
Compulsive lying, also called Mythomania, is a rather common symptom of mental illness. This disorder presents an acute challenge by its very nature because health care professionals cannot always tell if the patient is telling the truth with regard to symptoms. Compulsive or pathological liars are often so convincing that they consistently beat polygraph tests and convince themselves that their lies are the truth.The Difference Between Habitual Lying and Mythomania
It is hard to separate these two cases, because some people engage in “white” lies to avoid hurting other’s feelings. The pathological liar, by contrast, cannot help lying, even when the lie cause’s harm. It is this aspect ofMythomania that distinguishes it as a form of illness, rather than a habit. Those who lie regularly and without compunction to achieve desired results may need to consider some form of therapy to change these habits.
Medical Treatment for Pathological Lying
Therapy is a common treatment option for Mythomania, accompanied by a professional diagnosis and evaluation to determine if other mental illnesses are also present. There are many cases where lying is a symptom of an underlying disease, rather than the disease itself, as it can be a manifestation of the delusions or psychosis that characterizes a serious mental illness. Pathological lying has not received formal validation as a stand alone disease by the majority of medical authorities.
The use of counseling and therapy to cure pathological liars often requires a lengthy course of treatment. The complex issues involved include self esteem, feelings of inadequacy, early life issues including physical or verbal abuse, drug and alcohol addiction and more.
Approaching a patient with a challenge, rather than trying to earn their trust, usually causes more problems than it solves when dealing with a person who has developed lying as a defense or coping mechanism. Like many illnesses that only come to light in advanced stages, patience, persistence and regular psychotherapy sessions will yield positive results when treating pathological liars.
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