Pathological Lying


Professional psychiatrists have tried to come up with definitions of the term pathological lying. It is generally takes the definition of a habitual or compulsive behavior of lying. Anton first established a description of this term in the early medical literature in 1891 saying, "Pathological lying refers to falsification disproportionate to a discernible end in individual view, may be complicated or extensive, and may also manifest over a prolonged period or a lifetime.”

Steven (1998) discusses that although little has been less information about pathological lying, one major survey, found the prevalence of this condition as almost 1% in roughly 1000 juvenile offenders. The average age of psychological lying onset was found to be 16 years, and the occurrence of the same was found to be equal in both men and women (Dike, 2008; Mary, 1996; Steven, 1998; Steven, 1998; William, 2000). Forty percent of psychological lying cases reported were correlated to central nervous system abnormality with characteristics of epilepsy, head trauma, abnormal EEG findings, or CNS infection. Though pathological lying first revelation was in medical literature over the last 100 years ago, it is a term that remains as a poorly understood concept (Charles et al., 2008; Hardy & Reed, 1998; King & Ford, 1998).

Psychiatrists continue grappling with the ramifications of the precise condition, even when interest in pathological lying studies seems to wane in recent times. The pathological lying impact deserves decisive attention from psychiatrists. This is because there has been confusion and many approaches for instance in the forensic field confuse the description of this term. The concept is abused in applications precisely in the legal context. In this research paper, a review of pathological lying is carried out to clear the confusion and vagueness that surrounds this concept as well as examining the extent to which the concept applies in individuals and some recommendations as to how the conditions can be controlled (Dike, 2008; Mary, 1996; Steven, 1998; Steven, 1998; William, 2000).

Many psychiatrists have been comparing Pathological lying to pseudo lying, which a condition commonly observed in children. Despite their palpable comparability, it is relevant to draw a peculiarity between the condition of "fantasy" lying in children and the concept of pathological lying. Children's use of mere fantasy in denying reality a condition observed as a relevant aspect in self-protection as well as self-development, but when this condition persists into the late adulthood, it changes and develops to pathological lying. There have also been proposals that the pathological liar's individual ego is fixated early at the childhood level meaning that pathological lying starts and moves on in development of the child (Charles et al., 2008; Hardy & Reed, 1998; King & Ford, 1998).

Eminent psychiatrists, for instance Schneider, Jaspers, and Fish have wondered if the individual pathological liar really recognizes his or her story as literally false or has a belief that it is real. Essential philosophies in much of the written literature are the strong basis of pathological lying and the precise extent to which the state of pathological lying mirrors impairment in relative reality testing. A review of characterizations of pathological lying as per the works of Healy and Healy, the translators of the early work originally published in German shows a direct split between the scholars believing the possible impairment and reality testing.

Supporters of probable impaired reality testing perceive that in the evolution of the pathological lie, there cannot be differentiation from a hallucination because, to the perpetual liar, it has generally the worth of a genuine experience (Dike, 2008; Mary, 1996; Steven, 1998; Steven, 1998; William, 2000). The lie eventually wins power relatively over the pathological liar, in that his mastery of lies is lost. Pathological liars therefore for long have not been viewed as liars in reality; despite how strong their statements are false because the imminent verbalizations were not believed consciously engender the truth (Charles et al., 2008; Hardy & Reed, 1998; King & Ford, 1998).

Further foundation for possible impaired realism testing in pathological lying was the reflection that the lies are elaborate than actual and ordinary lies and leave grounds of realism more readily. Opponents of impaired realism testing in pathological lying recognize that when the pathological liar's concentration is energetically drawn to his perpetual lies, he can show partially some level of falseness, but when not taken account of and attention not given to him, it is not possible to notice the lies.

Charles et al., (2008) argues that utterance of lies in pathological lying comes quickly and naturally just as speaking truth in some people. He notes that even insane people are not immune to the condition of pathological lying. Still some in the insane group who feature in telling tales yet they recognize then as untrue. This observation highlights the controversy further about whether in pathological lying; the liar maintains contact precisely with reality (Dike, 2008; Mary, 1996; Steven, 1998; Steven, 1998; William, 2000). In the opinion of many scholars, pathological lying is hardly ever a symptom by itself because there individual tendency for them lying to be actually embedded in respective forms of misrepresentation. Dike (2008) adds with a statement that in pathological lying, the liar gets himself in a tight spot because he lies and then forced to tell more lies in extricating himself (Charles et al., 2008; Hardy & Reed, 1998; King & Ford, 1998).

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The historical review develops elements of pathological lying as presenting a lie for another. It argues that Pathological liars believe their lies in that the belief appears as delusional. Steven (1998) presents that the lairs generally use sound judgment in matters other than the lied upon because they are still normal people with reasoning. Dike (2008) says that it is questionable actually, whether pathological lying is a conscious act or even whether pathological liars have any control over their streamlined lies. There is also not a clear demarcation of the reasons for lying in different individuals.

In biological explanation a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in the year 2005, asserted that individuals having a pathological lying disorder likely suffer mild differences in respective brains. In comparison to test subjects using certain disorders, individuals with this disorder were discovered as having 26 percent, extra white matter in the brain, the central nervous component comprising axons, which link to lying. It was from the study that indicated that ten-year-olds develops extra white matter relatively in the prefrontal cortex as they develop more crafting lies (Dike, 2008; Mary, 1996; Steven, 1998; Steven, 1998; William, 2000). The study indicated that children with autistic disorders do not have the capability of lying because they consistently have less white matter in the brain. Dike (2008) concluded that the white matter development was greatly associated to pathological lying resulting from the complications in the brain structure (Charles et al., 2008; Hardy & Reed, 1998; King & Ford, 1998).

There are Psychiatric conditions traditionally associated with pathological lying as a condition persistent in individuals. They include Confabulation, Malingering, Ganser's Syndrome, Borderline Personality Disorder, Factitious Disorder, and Antisocial Personality Disorder. Pathological lying may also arise in Narcissistic and Histrionic Personality Disorders. A brief description of the respective conditions is an evidence of the existence of pathological disorder and revealing elements of pathological lying.

Steven (1998) says that Malingering is an intentional production of false information or exaggerated psychological or physical symptoms, with a motivation from external incentives for instance obtaining illicit drugs, financial compensation or avoiding work. While the reason for lying is clear in Malingering, there is still no clarity in pathological lying (Dike, 2008; Mary, 1996; Steven, 1998; Steven, 1998; William, 2000). In the rare occurrences, the malingering concept applies as an external incentive that leads to pathological lying with the lies grossly out of reality and proportion to the precise perceived gain. On the same note, Steven (1998) notes that confabulation is a description of falsifications of memory that occurs in clear consciousness associating with organic amnesia (Charles et al., 2008; Hardy & Reed, 1998; King & Ford, 1998).

The patient in this case attempts covering exposed memory gaps through pathological lying using confabulated materials. Steven (1998) also argues that Ganser’s Syndrome leads to pathological lying. Ganser's syndrome lies are limited to approximations rather than fantasies in pathological lying. Additionally, Ganser's syndrome associates with many other features that never characterize pathological lying but have some relations with the condition. To complete the correlation Mary (1996) justifies that factitious disorder, which is the intentional symptoms production, often involved false means. In this case, the pathological liar never wants to appear a liar therefore justifies every other lie with another.

Dike (2008) argues that while undoubtedly pathological lying is a symptom occurring in Borderline Personality Disorder and Factitious Disorder; it is not clear whether the condition can stand on its own occurring independently as a recognizable psychiatric disorder. Mary (1996) suggests that it is important to provide a precise distinction making it between the people who lie pathologically because of suffering from psychiatric disorder complications and the literal pathological liars demonstrating no symptoms of defined psychiatric disorders (Dike, 2008; Mary, 1996; Steven, 1998; Steven, 1998; William, 2000). Mary (1996) argues that eminent pathological lying should be very independent of a major psychiatric disorder if the concept is to apply in all reflections of explanation (Charles et al., 2008; Hardy & Reed, 1998; King & Ford, 1998).

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Charles et al., (2008) reflects that pathological lying presents false fully as memory loss syndrome, where the individual believes genuinely that fictitious events in his life have taken place, without even noting that the respective events are fantasies. The individual believes he succeeded in committing superhuman acts of love or has succeeded committing grandiose acts that are diabolically evil, but all these are mere fantasies because of memory loss (Charles et al., 2008; Hardy & Reed, 1998; King & Ford, 1998).

In the new-age cults, Mary (1996) argues that they center on charismatic individuals suffering from pathological disorders and using the same in convincing followers that they truly received visions or some Divine revelation, which they have to believe and follow. This might not be literal lying or doing it knowingly but the concept of pathological lying still exists and stands ground.

Pathological condition therefore exists and develops in individuals different. Charles et al., (2008) asserts that treating the condition is an involving task and requires patience. He suggested that therapy is the only permanent solution and treatment of pathological lying disorder for the victims (Charles et al., 2008; Hardy & Reed, 1998; King & Ford, 1998). However, he was quick to note that it would be more effective when started at an early age in the childhood developments because it was behavioral in nature. King and Ford (1998) added that the therapy sessions were great since they facilitated the increase in serotonin within the brain through medications therefore facilitating the ease of the condition. He also noted that the therapy facilitated cognitive behavioral therapy and succeeded the process of pathological disorder treatment (Dike, 2008; Mary, 1996; Steven, 1998; Steven, 1998; William, 2000).

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