What is mythomania?
In many societies and beliefs, honesty is considered the most important moral virtue. The generally accepted view is that lying is accompanied by infidelity and damages relationships.
Lying is knowingly and willingly making false statements. Often lies are told to avoid the consequences of telling the truth. Although it has been taught from childhood that it is not right to lie, every person can lie. Studies show that normal people lie at least 1-2 times a day. By lying, people both protect their own interests and maintain relationships with other people. The researcher Bryant (2008), who examined the lie in detail, divided it into groups according to intention, result, beneficiary, accuracy, and acceptability. The lie, according to Bryant’s study:
Truth lie: It is malicious and deceptive. It can have dire consequences. He who lies is beneficial to himself. It contains no reality and is unacceptable. It can be considered as a negative type of lie because it harms the person being lied to, and damages mutual relations and trust.
The white lie: It is told in good faith and without fraud. Expressions that are said to save someone else from sadness, distress, and/or negativity are generally incorrect statements that take into account the benefit of someone else. The result is harmless. It has a protective feature on the opposite side. A little lie, a little truth (curling). It is acceptable.
Gray lie: The intention is uncertain, can be spoken for good or bad intention. Its result is uncertain, so it may produce different results. The benefit derived from lying is uncertain. The accuracy level is uncertain. The result depends on interpretation. Sometimes it can be interpreted as good and sometimes bad.
Pathological lying is the habit of lying. It is defined as mythomania in psychiatry. People with the disease are called mitomanas. Mythomania is a combination of the Greek words muthos (legend) and Latin mania (madness). It is also called pseudologia fantastica in psychiatry. Mythomania patients have not been sufficiently studied and understood.
Mythomania was first described in 1891 by the German doctor Anton Delbrueck. Not much has been studied since then.
What are the characteristics of mythomania patients?
- Melomania sufferers are unaware that they are lying. Their way of thinking is called “magical thinking.” They believe in the reality of their imaginative thoughts. This situation, which is considered normal in children, is pathological for adults.
- Normal people may feel shame and guilt when they lie, but mythomas do not.
- Often they tell very beautiful and impressive fantastic lies. When reality and fantasy are intertwined, they can be believable.
- By lying, they make themselves look like an important person or hero.
- Often they believe their own lies.
- They constantly invent new lies to support their old lies.
- Most of the time, lying may not have a purpose. So they don’t make a profit by lying.
- Sometimes they can be self-incriminating and damaging.
- Its incidence in the general population is 1 in 1000 people. It occurs equally in men and women.
- Its development starts in adolescence, such as 15-16 years, and continues until adulthood if not treated.
- Mythomania patients have a very superior verbal ability.
- Mythomania sufferers can use lies to escape stressful situations. Mythomans are people who are detached from their reality. They lie more in situations of high anxiety.
- Mythomans have been identified among those who committed theft, fraud, forgery, and plagiarism. Especially phone fraudsters are thought to be in this group.
- They are insecure people who cannot accept themselves as they are.
- They can tell their lies like memories from the past.
- Motoman can also tell the truth, but such ornaments enlarge to such an extent that you cannot believe.
- Family relationships deteriorate over time.
- Social isolation causes them to see themselves as unexplored talent.
- Mythomania patients promise not to lie, but cannot keep their promises.
- Sometimes they can’t be caught in the lie detector. Because they don’t give the physical reactions that other people do on the polygraph machine.
- The mythical person constantly makes up imaginary scenarios, imaginary events, and people and believes in these lies he tells. People of this type have based their entire lives on a lie.
- Mythomania patients are unaware that they are sick. For this reason, they do not go to the doctor on their own. The people they live with are uncomfortable and take them to the doctor.
- Mitomans are very proud people.
How does mythomania develop?
Mythomania is not classified as a separate diagnosis in the classification of psychiatric disease. However, it may be a symptom of some diseases. These diseases are:
- Bipolar disorders
- Attention deficit syndrome
- Impulse control problems
- Substance abuse
- Borderline personality
- Narcissistic personality disorder
- Obsession disorders
In the observations made on mythomania patients, it was observed that some of them had epilepsy or EEG disorders, previous head trauma, and psychiatric patients in the family. Mythomania usually begins in adolescence when personality development is the fastest. The diagnosis is usually made between the ages of 21-22. Low self-esteem and insecurity are at the root of his mythomania. The person tries to fill these shortcomings by lying. Most of them have been found to have turbulent family lives. The false sense of self in patients with mythomania uses the mechanisms of idealization, perfection, and majesty to protect the real self from the false self. The advanced stage of mythomania is neurosis and psychosis.
Someone who has not reached enough spiritual maturity can turn into a mythomania to escape from the challenging situations of life.
How is the differential diagnosis of mythomania from other diseases?
Mythomania can sometimes be confused with personality disorders. However, unlike personality disorders, myths do not expect to gain from falsehood. Personality disorders usually begin in childhood and mythomania in adolescence. Intense emotional problems seen in personality disorders are not observed in mitomans. Suicidal tendencies are not observed in mitomans. It can be confused with confabulation disease. Confabulation is storytelling and distorting the truth. In this respect, they are very similar to each other. The difference of confabulation from mythomania is that it tries to fill the gaps in memory due to organic reasons. It was first described in alcohol-dependent patients. Confabulation Korsakoff syndrome can occur as a result of brain trauma or rupture of the forebrain vessels. So unlike mythomania, there is an organic basis.
How is mythomania treated?
Treatment works best when the person being treated accepts their condition. If the person is forced into treatment, they are unlikely to cooperate. Ideally, the person in therapy will believe that help is needed and make a sincere effort to change.
When a person lies to their therapist, treatment can be difficult. Even if the therapist catches a lie, the person may refuse to admit their dishonesty.
3 types of methods can be used to help minimize and correct the serious consequences of mythomania.
Cognitive therapy: The goal of cognitive therapy is to find the root of low self-esteem and self-insecurity in mythomas. Later, we go over the fixations and start therapy. Individual or group treatment can be preferred. Co-treatment of couples gives positive results.
Communication: Mythomania treatment is a medium to the long-term job. The patient must trust his therapist. Both psychiatrists and close family members should show patience, compassion, and perseverance.
Whether the accused who is found to have lied is a normal liar or a patient with mythomania should be determined. It is very important whether the individual has control over their behavior. Some are involved in crimes such as theft, fraud, and plagiarism among mythomania patients.
If there are people in your close environment who show the characteristics I have mentioned above, get them to see a psychiatrist. If you see these symptoms in the person you are with, do not leave him alone during therapy, be patient and understanding.
We wish you healthy days.
The page content is for informational purposes only. Items containing information about therapeutic health services are not included in the content of the page. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment.