Do you know a compulsive liar? Chances are you do or have known one at some point in your life. Let’s face it; everyone cheats once in a while to profit from small dishonesties. For example, calling out sick from work when you’re not (to do something fun), lying about age (to get into a club or bar), etc. However, when it comes to a compulsive liar (also called pseudologia fantastica and mythomania), they lie even though there’s no benefit. Lying is second nature to them, like breathing. It becomes an addiction. And like other addictions, it’s also tough to make compulsive liars admit they have a problem, even though their behavior has alienated others, ruining personal and work relationships. This kind of behavior becomes problematic, making it hard for them to overcome this addiction without proper treatment.
Compulsive liar disorder (not to confuse with pathological liars) is a condition, not recognized as a psychiatric disorder, but as a symptom of other disorders like narcissism, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and sometimes even depression. Nevertheless, it’s also very possible for a person to be a compulsive liar without suffering from any of the disorders just mentioned, and the behavior is merely a consequence of an incident or occurrence from this person’s past, which serves as the underlying reason.
When it comes to treating someone with this disorder, success depends on a person’s determination to change his/her behavior. If they genuinely don’t feel they have a problem and are forced into treatment, they will manipulate and lie to their doctor about the therapy results. But, if someone sincerely wants treatment, please be patient with them, and provide your full support because this won’t be an easy chore. Overcoming the compulsion to lie, like any addiction, is an arduous task.
At the Eustache Institute, when it comes to treating people with compulsive liar disorder, we work alongside our client’s medical doctors to ensure that an evaluation is performed, to determine the underlying reason for the compulsion, before treatment is prescribed. Learning what the compulsion stems from (bipolar, narcissism, borderline personality or a traumatic past incident/occurrence) is the key. Neurofeedback therapy has helped many patients overcome addictions, compulsive disorders, depression, anxiety, and other debilitating neurological disorders, and this method of treatment can help compulsive liars too, especially since those who suffer from this ailment experience symptoms of those conditions listed above.
In order to help someone suffering from this disorder, it’s crucial to locate the root of the brain that is encouraging the compulsion to lie. Retraining the brain is the key to long-term recovery and the confidence needed to be themselves. By using an EEG machine, we will monitor the person’s brain waves during a variety of non-stressful and stressful exercises. With this feedback, we can balance a person’s brain so they can always remain reasonable, calm and focused during stressful situations. When their brain is balanced, the person will make better choices during demanding situations and will no longer feel the need to lie. If a person is a compulsive liar due to a traumatic event, the brain has altered their perception of oneself and their place in the world. By recognizing and retraining the areas of interest within the brain, we can help our patients change their brain patterns back into a natural, neutral and confident state.
Dr. Elena Eustache is a specialist in neurofeedback therapy, with a Ph.D. in Psychology and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Dr. Elena Eustache helps her patients reach their full potential so they can live the life they’ve always dreamed. You can read more about neurofeedback therapy by visiting her blog. You may also find her on Instagram and Facebook.