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An Overview of Pseudologia Fantastica

Rujuta Borkar
Pseudologia fantastica, quite similar to pathological lying, is a condition that is characterized by one's need to lie, knowingly or unknowingly, in order to garner attention and to fulfill other needs. Why does this condition come about and what does it include? Read on to know more.
Why do people lie? Why does that need even arise? Maybe to prevent something unpleasant from taking place, maybe to prevent someone from getting hurt, or maybe to experience the thrill of that moment. The reasons could be many. And everyone being aware that at some point or the other, at some time or the other, we have all lied.
Yet, there is no malice there and we do not take up lying as a mission, cause we know that it is not the right thing to do. But what about those people who are known to lie? What about those people who think nothing of it?
There are several people who lie to the point of it turning into a disorder, did you know? More so over, there are several different types of liars. Here, we will get into the details of a health condition - pseudologia fantastica, that has at its base the crux of lies.
Pseudologia fantastica is a condition that has at its base, the workings of lies. This condition is often used interchangeably with conditions like pathological lying and mythomania, but they are not the same.
There are certain factors that define a person who suffers from this condition, and in these factors, they attain distinct traits that separates this condition from other conditions that revolve around lying. In the upcoming sections, this condition will be explained in greater detail.


Pseudologia fantastica is a rather interesting and yet a complicated phenomenon to understand. This condition is based on lying, that much is clear, but the reasons that lead to this lying and the factors that it manifests into are somewhat different from the other disorders that are guided by lying.
The basic premise of this disorder is that a person tells lies, but in those lies there is some grain of truth. In that way, he does not make up a story out of thin air, but tells something that has actually happened in a highly exaggerated manner (thus turning it into a lie).
Their lies are not limited to a particular moment but are developed into a more complicated format, and then told over a long period of time. These are not lies that are fabricated on the spot or out of pressure or similar, but have been well thought of. In that manner, the person starts believing that it is the truth and behaves that way too.
The tricky part is that this condition cannot be termed as a disorder, because even though they believe in the lie that they are telling, they know that they are lying, and if anyone catches them at it, they might admit to it as well (though grudgingly).
The lies told by a person suffering from pseudologia fantastica center around positive factors rather than anything negative. In that manner, they present the liar in an extremely positive light, and as one having highly superfluous characteristics.
If you compare this quality to a pathological liar, for example, you'll find that their lies might also center around something negative - like they have a lot of problems. This is done to garner attention on the basis of sympathy.
The individuals who suffer from this condition may be extremely charismatic, always talking about a positive task that they have done in exaggerated terms, and garnering attention in that manner.


In most cases, the tendency of a person to lie can be traced back to his or her childhood and the incidents that took place then. Lack of attention, negligence and abuse, are some of the most common causes why individuals develop the need to lie. They lie in order to create a world that they can escape into.
Lying and building a superfluous life with the help of those lies, allows them the escape that they need to get away from the pain, anger, and other psychological issues, that have developed.
The basis of these lies is a low self-esteem that develops because enough attention has not been paid. People do not lie out of force or habit, and surely not due to any outside influence, but mainly to garner internal gratification. They feel nice about themselves when they carve a world for themselves that portrays them as super humans with super powers.
It is also seen that people who suffer from certain disorders and conditions like domestic violence, extortion of some sort or false memory syndrome (where a person starts believing that fictitious incidents are actually true), could also bring on pseudologia fantastica symptoms in a person.


Unfortunately, the treatment for this have not been extensively researched. Yet, being a psychological condition, there are certain options that become available (for the lack of a better word), just as there are cures for pathological lying. In most cases, medication and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are administered, depending on the condition.
Medication is administered to cure any psychological conditions or mental illnesses that lead to this condition as a symptom. When the cause is eliminated, the symptom will be automatically taken care of.
CBT is used so that the root causes of the condition can be targeted at the base, and thereby bring about a positive change. The negative thoughts of low self-esteem and the like, find their roots in the thinking and the cognitive abilities, and therefore a change in these thoughts leads to a positive change in the actions as well.
There are specialized therapists who combine exercises and counseling, as well as other techniques to bring about a change from within. Even though these treatment forms are available, none of them can work if the person himself is not willing to change.
In most cases, the person who suffers from pseudologia fantastica does not believe, and therefore does not admit that there is a problem. And if there is no problem, then what will you cure, and how will you get a person who suffers from pseudologia fantastica out of his world?