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Pyromaniacs love fire and they have trouble controlling their impulses to light them. They set fires to feel pleasure or relief and they’re generally fascinated with fire and the consequences of fires. According to the APA’s manual of mental health disorders, the DSMV-IV, pyromania is a manifestation of an impulse control disorder.

To be diagnosed as a pyromaniac you must:

  • Have intentionally set fires on more than one occasion
  • Experience emotional arousal and or tension before lighting a fire
  • Experience relief gratification or pleasure from setting or watching fires
  • Feel drawn and fascinated by fire the consequences of fire and things related to fire (paraphernalia)
  • Not set fires for financial or ideological reasons, out of criminal motive or out of anger or out of impaired or altered judgment (intoxication, hallucination, dementia, developmental delay etc.)
  • Not have another mental disorder which better explains the fire setting, such as antisocial conduct disorder, a personality disorder or a manic disorder1

Pyromania Treatment

Pyromania is a relatively rare disorder in adults and most pyromaniacs suffer also from other co-occurring disorders, like substance abuse, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder and mood disorders.2

Behavior modification psychotherapy is the most common treatment for pyromania. In some cases, medications like SSRIs may also be warranted.3

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Page last updated Jul 02, 2015

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