As a kid we all were very fascinated towards fireworks and fireplay but for some individuals, fascination with fire can span from a healthy respect to an unhealthy obsession. This obsession towards fire is termed as pyromania. It is a rare disorder which is described as an act of intentional and repeated fire setting. A pyromaniac cannot resist the impulse to set fires and while doing so he feel extremely satisfied as the piled up inner tension and anxiety release once a fire is set. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) defines pyromania as requiring the following criteria: Deliberate and purposeful fire setting on more than one occasion,Tension or affective arousal before the act, Fascination with fire and its situational contexts and Pleasure, gratification, or relief when setting fires or when witnessing or participating in their aftermath.
It is found that individuals with this disorder are often regular ‘watchers’ at fires in their neighbourhoods, they may set off false alarms, and derive pleasure from institutions, equipment, and personnel associated with fire. People suffering from pyromania may spend time at the local fire department, set fires to be affiliated with the fire department, or even become firefighters example of this is Alex Gordon Nobel from Australia, who was found to be involved in lighting 15 fires in year 2014 and get imprisoned for 2 years. Noble is believed to have started the fires to gain experience in putting them out, and aspired to become a professional firefighter. Researchers are still trying to rule out the exact cause of pyromania but despite this the treatment of pyromania is possible. Psychotherapy mainly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is found to be successful in treating pyromania. In CBT the therapist helps the person to identify triggers that cause their desire to set fires and then teaches new coping skills to deal with those impulses. This may also include the use of exposure and response prevention and habit reversal training. Medications that may be used include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotic
By – Assistant Professor – Mrs Deepika
Department of Nursing
College of Nursing
Uttaranchal (P.G.) College Of Bio-Medical Sciences & Hospital