Pyromania, an Impulse Disorder

Around the 4th of July it might seem like more of us have a touch of pyromania. But this very rare condition falls under the larger “impulse control disorder” umbrella which also includes kleptomania, pathological gambling, trichotillomania, and intermittent explosive disorder. Behavenet.com explains that people afflicted with pyromania are fascinated with fire as well as its consequences and related activities. The act of setting fires may offer relief or gratification, and they may exhibit excitement or anxiety prior to starting a fire.

For a person with pyromania, setting fires is not about monetary gain, sociopolitical ideology, concealing criminal activity or expressing anger. Those diagnosed with pyromania experience tension prior to setting a fire and often are interested or curious about fire and its consequences. To achieve a diagnosis of pyromania, a person must have deliberately set fires on more than one occasion.

Treatment plans may include behavior modification, anger management skill-building, cognitive restructuring, and rational problem-solving. Medications also may be helpful to some individuals suffering from the disorder.

Our counselors are always available for consultation on impulse control disorders and other mental health issues. Please call 202-449-3789 for more information.

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