Pyromania: A Mental Health Disorder

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Pyromania: A Mental Health Disorder

Postby Wilberforce » Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:43 am

Fairview Health Services / Health Library

What is pyromania?
Pyromania is an impulse disorder. People who have this disorder cannot resist an impulse to set fires,
even though they know it is harmful. The urge makes them anxious, tense, or aroused. Only setting fires
gives relief or satisfaction.

How does it occur?
The exact cause of this disorder is not known. Experts think it may be caused by differences in the brain or
nervous system. It might also be related to things such as child abuse or a family history of mental illness.

Most pyromaniacs are male. Many people with this disorder also have a learning disorder.

Most children go through a stage where they like to set fires. This is normal. Most children outgrow playing
with fire by adolescence or adulthood.

What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of pyromania are:

• setting fires on purpose more than once
• being very tense or very excited before setting the fire
• being attracted by fire and objects, people, or situations related to fire
• feeling pleasure or relief when setting or watching fires
• not caring about the loss of property, the injuries, or even the deaths that result from fires.

People with this disorder do not set fires for money, to express political beliefs, to hide signs of a crime,
or to show anger. A true pyromaniac just likes fire.

How is it diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider or a mental health will ask about your symptoms and any drug or alcohol use.
You may have lab tests to rule out medical problems such as chemical imbalances.

How is it treated?
Both therapy and medicines may be used to treat this disorder.

In covert sensitization, you first relax and picture scenes that excite you. Then you imagine something
negative, such as getting your penis stuck in the zipper of your pants.

With assisted aversive conditioning, the negative event is real rather than imagined. For example, your
therapist sprays a bad smell such as ammonia in the air. The goal is for you to link your actions with
something negative and avoid both.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a way to help you identify and change thoughts you have that are
not realistic. CBT can make you aware of unhealthy ways of thinking. It can also help you learn new
thought and behavior patterns.

Medicines such as mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and other kinds of medicines may also help.

When should I seek help?
Pyromania is very dangerous to the person with the disorder as well as to others. If you suspect that
someone you care about may have pyromania, ask your healthcare provider for a referral to a mental
health professional as soon as possible.

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Postby Wilberforce » Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:12 pm

Pyromania (fire starting)
The pyromaniac sets main deliberate fires and takes enjoyment in watching what others have to do as
a result of this. Therefore the pyromaniac is often one of the spectators of the fire he has generated.

• More than once, the person has deliberately and purposefully set fires.

• Before the fire-setting, the person experiences tension or excited mood.

• The person is interested in or attracted to fire and its circumstances and outcomes.

• The person experiences gratification, pleasure or relief when setting fires or experiencing their consequences.

• These fires are not set:

for profit.
to express a political agenda.
to conceal crimes.
to express anger or revenge.
to improve the patient's living circumstances.
in response to a delusion or hallucination.
as a result of impaired judgment.

• The fire-setting is not better explained by Antisocial Personality Disorder, Conduct Disorder or Manic Episode.

Associated Features:

Childhood Enuresis
Learning Disabilities.
Cruelty - to animals

Differential Diagnosis:

Some disorders have similar or even the same symptoms. The clinician, therefore, in his/her diagnostic attempt,
has to differentiate against the following disorders which need to be ruled out to establish a precise diagnosis.

Antisocial Personality Disorder
Conduct Disorder.
Manic Episode
Substance Abuse.
Mental Retardation.


Pyromania is a strong need to set things on fire. It is all about the pleasure it gives to see what other people
have to do to extinguish the fire and the pyromaniac may enjoy reading about the effects of his/her activities.


Behavioral therapy is used to direct the persons interest away from fire setting activities and have these replace
with more socially acceptable forms of tension reduction.

Counseling and Psychotherapy [ See Therapy Section ]:

PsychNet-UK / Disorders
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Postby Wilberforce » Sat Aug 09, 2008 1:33 am

Who takes pictures of their firepit?

I can understand sitting around a blazing firepit on a cool evening.

Yes, I can understand why folks do that.

I do not understand why anyone would take dozens of photos of
fireplace fires - that seems to be a bit of an obsession with fire?
I mean, what of it? When you've seen one fire, you've seen them all.
What's the point?

Fire ... 6700jZuwVP
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Postby Wilberforce » Sat Aug 09, 2008 7:01 pm

Might as well take photos of the dog turds in the yard :?
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Postby Wilberforce » Sat Aug 09, 2008 8:41 pm

It sounds as if he is building a "fort" like little boys do.
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old people burned in depression

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Sun Aug 10, 2008 8:32 pm

Old people burn more, it seems. Don't know about air pollution, global warming. Ignorance reigns. You get set in your ways. I did not know how bad it was till I got smoked out and started trying to get educated fast. This site is the best ! I'm still learning every day.

Old people get senile and sometimes have mental health problems. They can't change. Governments too. Old people can't take care of things and keep as clean either. Budgets are stretched too. Woodburning behavior is complicated. Not all are pyros but they drive most of us nuts. Sometimes me. They see us as " looneys" as well. They argue woodburning is as old as the hills and everybody has a fireplace or stove. If everybody has one, then it must be OK. It is like the romans drinking out of mugs with lead in them. This went on for hundreds or thousands of years. Ditto global warming. Only the super smart like Gore see the problem before the rest. Most of us, did not know about the danger of woodburning till we got smoked out. I'm shocked at my ignorance. They see us as sickos too with our allergies and chemical sensitvities. The problem is "you" they say and mean it. Only sniffling and sniveling allergics are bothered from their point of view. What a problem we have but we have more tools than in the past and more science. We are breaking through but it will take time. If only Gore had won the presidential race. Obama might help too. There is good reason for hope. Old McCain won't do a thing though. I, therefor hope for the best but plan for the worst. The guy with the rental philosophy appeals to me more and more. My wife has difficulty facing the prospect of moving and can't change either. The saints teach detatchment but how many of us can go with the punches? Do we fight in the trenches even if it kills us.

Studying the maps myself. There may be burning all over but the EPA maps suggest the south could be cleaner. The American lung even lists "The cleanest cities". Now there is an idea. Gas is $2/mmbtu in New York state. Less temptation there to burn wood. People were not burning wood in Maine till oil skyrocketed. 90 % still don't. Maybe we have a 90%
chance of avoiding a neighbor who burns if we move but it travels 500' without diminishing. Even if I move, I will keep fighting. It is survival for me and the planet.
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Postby turning_blue » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:42 pm ... y_disorder

Read Diagnostic criteria, Symptoms, and Potential Markers.

Potential Markers....see pyromania.
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Pyromania encouraged by the Boy Scouts, Prof. Johnson.

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:09 pm

Prof. Johnson showed boyscouts sitting around a campfire. This is adults teaching by behavior that woodburning is OK. This a deep thing we are delving into.
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Re: Pyromania: A Mental Health Disorder

Postby DrOscarGhelberMd » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:33 am

You have describe the Pyromania. Really it is and impulse disorder. You have also describe symptoms of mental health disorder. Completely I agree to your discussion. I want to share with your experience. I'm happy to notice you a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Mental health point.
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