Pathological lying, also known as compulsive lying, is a psychological condition wherein an individual would constantly feel the need to lie, with or without any reason or purpose, and it may be habitual. These people are referred to as pathological liars, as mentioned. Furthermore, it is simpler for them to churn out unreal stories than speak the truth.
Psychology of a Pathological Liar
It is not a normal condition, and is in fact considered a disorder, or a symptom of a larger disorder such as antisocial personality disorder or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
Studies have shown that the brain matter of such people differ from those who do not feel the compulsion to lie. They are known to have more white matter than gray matter in their prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is one that is responsible for our decision-making abilities.
Another reason for the development of this psycological condition is the fear associated with speaking the truth. For instance, if a person has experienced a negative reaction upon speaking the truth, and felt safer lying, it may manifest into a habit that has now become a permanent part of his/her personality.
Furthermore, this condition can affect all the areas of a person's life. The work life as well as personal relationships are deeply affected due to this trait or disorder, because there is no truth in such relationships. There are some ways by which this psychological condition can be treated, however, their effectiveness is not completely guaranteed.
The treatment for this condition would begin when one first acknowledges the symptoms of such a liar, and then makes him/her aware of these symptoms. It is a known fact that those who experience the various psychological disorders refuse to agree that they may be affected by the same. One should be prepared to face this when dealing with such a liar.
In fact, because of the illusions that such people face, they may never be able to come to terms with the reality of being affected by a psychological condition. If one has been successful in convincing the affected person about the presence of this condition, one may opt for any of the following treatment options.
Psychotherapy: Several psychotherapy sessions with a good psychiatrist are required to be able to treat a person for compulsive lying. Along with these sessions, medication is also prescribed to treat this condition. A combination of both has usually been successful in this treatment to a great extent.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This form of treatment refers to changing a person's thought process, and therefore, his/her behavior. For this treatment to be effective, the therapist must identify and attack the root cause of the problem. Moreover, this is not just a regular conversation between the affected person and the therapist.
In cognitive behavioral therapy, the affected person is asked to maintain a diary, where all significant events, along with associated thoughts, and actions are to be recorded. Also, several relaxation techniques are taught as a means to treating the need to lie compulsively.
Treating a pathological liar is a challenging process, as one can never know when the person is speaking the truth. Even in the several sessions of this therapy, it is very easy for compulsive liars to fabricate a story instead of genuinely answering all the questions that are posed to them.
Also, they may lie about being open to treatment, and actually not care much about it. Only an experienced therapist will be able to differentiate a lie from a truth. As mentioned earlier, this condition can be entirely cured but it is not completely guaranteed.
However, to make it really effective, the concerned person should be given a lot of support from friends and family. Therapy can only take a person so far. A person who knows he/she has a strong backing to support him/her, would be able to help make the treatment procedure very useful, simply by sincerely opening up to it.
Disclaimer: This content is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for the advice of a mental health expert.