Alma Ahmad

What is Pyromania

Pyromania is a mental illness in which an individual deliberately sets things on fire for pleasure or satisfaction, that comes from the relief experienced before and after the fire setting.

Pyromania in Child & Adolescences

Most cases involve children and adolescents when it comes to fire setting, but those are not cases of Pyromania. Mostly children and adolescents that do set fire are divided into two groups: pathological or non - pathological. The non – pathological individual sets fire out of curiosity, while not knowing the dangers of fire. On the other hand, pathological individuals are youngsters that have psychological problems and can be divided into five groups:

1. Attention Seeker ( Cry For Help)

2. Aggression ( Set fires to property not people)

3. Psychotic or Paranoid( Suicidal)

4. Impulse control damaged ( Fetal Alcohol)

5. Sociocultural fire setter( To win approval)

Pyromania in Adults

Adults that have the mental illness, pyromania, exhibit high rates of disorders, such as: substance abuse disorders, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders.

Causes & Symptoms


The psychologist, Freud, believed pyromania was developed in people who wanted to “demonstrate power over nature”. Pyromania is mostly found in men. People that have the disorder show symptoms of animal abuse in their adult life as a way of eradicating their anger. There is a higher chance of fire to be set by a child than an adult.

There are two main causes of pyromania: individual and environmental.

Individual factors include:

  • Antisocial behaviors and attitudes (Doesn't have any friends)
  • Sensation seeking.
  • Attention seeking (Cry for help)
  • Lack of social skills (Loner)
  • Lack of fire-safety skills

Environmental Factors include:

  • Poor supervision
  • Early learning experiences
  • Parental neglect
  • Emotional un-involvement.
  • Physically or sexual abuse as a child or adult
  • Peer pressure
  • Stressful life events.


  • Must have set fires purposely on more than one occasion.
  • Experienced feelings emotional arousal before setting a fire.
  • Experienced feelings of tension before setting a fire.
  • Is fascinated by fire and fire products
  • Must feel a sense of relief or pleasure after starting a fire
  • No motive for the fire, just for a fun

Impact the illness would have on an individual’s lifestyle?

This illness may induce problems which include, hurting one's own family with fire or burning down one's own house. Furthermore, your family would be afraid to go near you due to your illness that they may not allow their children to go near you. You would not be able to find a job easily because you could be at risk of putting your coworkers in danger. You might not be invited to many social events due to your illness because people might be afraid of you setting fire to them, their family, or even their houses'. The biggest impact it can have on the individual’s life is that he might set himself on fire by mistake.


Child & Adolescences

The treatment for children and adolescents is much easier than treatment for adults. For children and adolescents, the treatment includes problem-solving skills, anger management, communication skills, aggression replacement training, and cognitive restructuring. In addition, by finding another way, the child can get satisfaction or stress relief.


It’s harder for adults when it comes to treatment because of the lack of cooperation by the patients. For adults, it is mostly a medical treatment, which consists of a selective serotonin re -uptake inhibitors. In addition, the adults can seek help from psychotherapist.

Work Cited

Mental Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from

Parks, R., Green, R., Girgis, S., Hunter, M., Woodruff, P., & Spence, S. (n.d.). Response of pyromania to biological treatment in a homeless person. Retrieved May 1, 2015, from

Pyromania. (2014, January 29). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from

Pyromania. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from