pyromania image from New Medical Terms



A sociopathic disorder of impulse control which is characterised by a pattern of fire setting for pleasure, gratification, or relief of tension.

Pyromania (312.33 in DSM-5, APA, 2013) Diagnostic criteria

1. The person has set fires deliberately and on purpose on more than 1 occasion (multiple episodes involved)

2. The person feels a tension or affective arousal before setting the fire

3. Fascination, interest, attraction and/or curiosity for fire making paraphernalia, fire fighting equipment or any fire-related topic.

4. Pleasure, gratification or relief may be felt:

a. when setting fires

b. while witnessing a fire

c. when participating in the aftermath

Exclusion criteria The fire setting cannot be better explained by another disorder (mania, antisocial personality conduct disorder, other).The fire setting is not done for

1. Monetary gain–insurance etc

2. To express a sociopolitical ideology

3. Conceal a criminal act

4. As a conscious expression of anger or vengeance

5. To improve one’s living circumstances

6. In response to a delusion or hallucination, and

7. As a result of impaired judgement due to delusion or intoxication.


Holmes, R. & Holmes, S. (2009). Profiling Violent Crimes: An Investigative Tool, 4e. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

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