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The diagnostic criteria for Pyromania includes the following:

  • Deliberate and purposeful fire setting on more than one occasion.

  • Tension or affective arousal before the act.

  • Fascination with, interest in, curiosity about, or attraction to fire and its situational contexts (e.g., paraphernalia, uses, consequences).

  • Pleasure, gratification, or relief when setting fires, or when witnessing or participating in their aftermath.

  • The fire setting is not done for monetary gain, as an expression of sociopolitical ideology, to conceal criminal activity, to express anger or vengeance, to improve one's living circumstances, in response to a delusion or hallucination, or as a result of impaired judgment (e.g., in dementia, Mental Retardation, Substance Intoxication).

  • The fire setting is not better accounted for by Conduct Disorder, a Manic Episode, or Antisocial Personality Disorder.

    Associated Features

    Individuals with Pyromania may make considerable advance preparation for starting a fire. They may be indifferent to the consequences to life or property caused by the fire, or they may derive satisfaction from the resulting property destruction. The behaviors may lead to property damage, legal consequences, or injury or loss of life to the fire setter or to others. Individuals who impulsively set fires (who may or may not have Pyromania) often have a current or past history of Alcohol Dependence or Abuse.


      In individuals with Pyromania, fire-setting incidents are episodic and may wax and wane in frequency. Longitudinal course is unknown.

        Diagnostic criteria summarized from:

        American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

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