10 FAQs About Pathological Liars

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By chelsea
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Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. 'Compulsive Lying.' GoodTherapy.org Therapy Blog, www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/compulsive-lying
  • 2. 'Pathological Lying A Sign of Several Health Conditions.' The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab Thailand, 21 Apr. 2021, thedawnrehab.com/blog/pathological-lying-a-sign-of-several-health-conditions/
  • 3. Haley, LaDonna. 'Home.' Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri, www.mha-em.org/im-looking-for/mental-health-knowledge-base/conditions/127-psychopathy-vs-sociopathy
  • 4. Verschuere, Bruno, and Willem In T Hout. 'Psychopathic Traits and Their Relationship with the Cognitive Costs and Compulsive Nature of Lying in Offenders.' PloS One, Public Library of Science, 8 July 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4938600/
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Medical Expert Medical Expert

When a person is caught in several falsehoods, others may call them a pathological liar. But pathological lying is a real condition where someone tells lies more frequently than the average person. The condition may also be known as mythomania or habitual lying.

There are many reasons people may tell frequent lies, and pathological lying can be comorbid with other mental health conditions. Pathological liars tell falsehoods regardless of the context. This means the lies may not be significant. Instead, the lies are often about small or seemingly meaningless things, such as whether the dishes were done or a person sneezed.1‘Compulsive Lying.’ GoodTherapy.org Therapy Blog, www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/compulsive-lying

What's the Difference Between Pathological and Compulsive Liars?

Many people use the terms pathological liar and compulsive liar interchangeably. Technically, medical literature doesn't distinguish between the two. Certain medical professionals, however, believe the two to be similar yet different conditions.

Those who note a difference between the two believe compulsive liars will tell falsehoods no matter the situation. This means a compulsive liar may tell both big lies and small ones without any apparent purpose. On the other hand, these professionals believe pathological liars tell lies with motive. The usual motive is thought to be attention, such as garnering pity or gaining admiration.1‘Compulsive Lying.’ GoodTherapy.org Therapy Blog, www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/compulsive-lying

Pathological Liar

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