Mythomania: Symptoms And Causes

Mythomania has always been used as a mockery, but it is not a minor problem. In fact, although it is not considered a disease in any diagnostic manual, it complicates the lives of people who suffer from it.

Mythomaniacs are individuals who lie constantly and for pleasure. In these cases, the telling of falsehoods is a mechanism that compensates for a series of problems. To better understand this condition, below are the symptoms and causes of mythomania.

What is mythomania?

Mythomania is a pathological picture characterized by the tendency to consciously and voluntarily tell lies or falsehoods, in part. The contents of the stories are usually fictitious and extraordinary adventures, which are the product of the imaginative activity of the subject in conjunction with his memories.

In this way, what is known as retrospective falsification is included , which consists of distorting real memories through false events or interpretations. Among the essential characteristics of mythomania are the following:

  • The story may be probable and bear some similarity to the actual events.
  • Imaginary adventures can occur in various situations and over time. Thus, they come to configure complex and systematic deceptions.
  • In general, the theme of the adventures varies. However, the protagonist is usually the mythomaniac.

This disorder differs from the emission of a simple lie, since the latter is a voluntary falsification of the facts, whose purpose is to obtain an advantage or escape from a compromising situation. In contrast, the mythomaniac does not always seek personal gain.

Man lies and his shadow gives him away.

Fantastic pseudology

Some specialists often use the idea of ​​fantastic pseudology as a synonym for mythomania. It is a very little used psychiatric name, however, it is important to keep it in mind.

Similar to mythomania, fantasy pseudology is characterized by well-crafted fictional adventure stories  involving dramatic and extraordinary situations. Also, deception lasts for many years and sometimes even a lifetime.

Symptoms of mythomania

In the early 1900s, mythomania was conceived as a specific and independent pathology. But today it is considered a symptom in itself that manifests itself within different psychiatric conditions. Thus, depending on the clinical picture, it will vary. Among these pathologies are the following.

Histrionic personality

People create stories related to their sexuality, either directly or indirectly. In these cases, the mythomaniac is the protagonist and is presented as a seducer, seduced, desired or admired. Fantasies usually distort your memories.


Made-up stories place you in the role of hero or victim. The objectives are usually to justify certain behaviors, hide a criminal act or commit a crime. The profile is typical of scammers, who have skills to demonstrate conviction and security in their stories.

Borderline personality

The expression of fictions turns out to be a mechanism to increase the self-esteem of the person, as an attempt to be accepted by himself and by others. The term  borderline actually refers to borderline personality disorder.

These people find it difficult to maintain social relationships over time. Instability is manifested in the almost constant change of opinion they have regarding their ties with others.


Narcissists’ fictional accounts are usually expressed for magnification. That is, they are characterized by the exaggerated display of success, power, personal worth, or beauty.

Münchausen syndrome

These are people who pretend to have a bodily disease, which leads to various hospitalizations and even surgeries. Some researchers assume that mythomania is the underlying disorder and the syndrome would be the secondary behavioral manifestations.

Causes of mythomania

The causes of mythomania are diverse and differ depending on the personal history of the individual. However, common features underlying the establishment of this pathology have been identified:

  • Difficulty accepting one’s own reality: so the creation of a fantasy allows accepting oneself and others.
  • Feelings of inferiority, guilt or affective frustration: in this case, the elaboration and manifestation of fictions help these people to compensate for unpleasant experiences.
  • Lack of skills to face reality:  so lies represent a defense mechanism.


Mythomania, being considered a symptom of other pathologies, does not have a specific treatment. Well, it will depend on the psychiatric conditions that are presented as a base, such as the personality disorders already mentioned.

In these cases, the fundamental approach is the psychotherapeutic intervention that is usually complemented with drugs, such as anxiolytics or antidepressants. It is rare for these people to attend psychotherapy of their own free will.

The cases that come to be treated are people who come to the psychology service for other reasons. For example, requesting certificates to avoid the legal consequences of their conduct.

Mythomaniac hides his face in a mask.

What to remember about mythomania?

Fantastic pseudology and mythomania are two different terms used to describe the same phenomenon. The disorder is considered a symptom of a more complex psychiatric pathology.

It is a mechanism that promotes well-being in subjects with low self-esteem, with feelings of inferiority, guilt or lack of self-confidence. The symptoms and causes are diverse and will depend on the underlying psychiatric disorder.

Similarly, the characteristics of psychotherapeutic treatment will vary depending on the underlying pathology. In one way or another, the approach must be carried out by mental health professionals.

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