(Also Known As: Compulsive Diagnosis, Obsessive Diagnosis, Obsession With Starting Fires Diagnosis, Pyromaniac Diagnosis, Pyromaniacs Diagnosis)
(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)
How is Pyromania Diagnosed?
Making an accurate diagnosis of pyromania can be challenging to a primary care provider due to several factors. Sometimes the sufficiency of the diagnostic criteria itself can pose a problem in coming up with a diagnosis of pyromania. Some psychiatrists do not believe that impulse control disorders should be taken as a separate entity because some problems related to self-control are found in various psychiatric disorders.
Another problem in diagnosing pyromania is the inexperience of mental health providers in dealing with such behavior. In many instances, they do not have the awareness that the patient is continuously setting fires or they consider the act as part of antisocial or dysfunctional behavior.
The DSM-IV has set the following criteria in order to make a correct diagnosis of pyromania: 3
The patient must have intentionally or purposefully set things on fire on several occasions.
The pyromaniac should be undergoing tension or showing external emotional behavior prior to the act of setting fire.
The individual suffering from pyromania must show interest and curiosity about fires and their circumstances.
The individual must show satisfaction or gratification after the act and seeing the consequences of such.
The act of setting fire must not be for other purposes such as monetary benefits, expression of political or social ideologies, vengeance or anger, concealing of criminal act, reaction to delusions or hallucinations, or impaired judgment.
In addition, to make a correct diagnosis of pyromania, there should be knowledge on the part of the psychiatrist that the pyromaniac has set fires on several occasions. Likewise, the individual must not be intoxicated or criminally motivated. When all of these conditions have been ruled out, then diagnosis of pyromania can be issued.
Could You Have Pyromania?