DSM-III

Diagnostic Criteria

A. Recurrent failure to resist impulses to set fires.

B. Increasing sense of tension before setting the fire.

C. An experience of either intense pleasure, gratification, or release at the time of committing the act.

D. Lack of motivation, such as monetary gain or sociopolitical idealogy, for setting fires.

E. Not due to an Organic Mental Disorder, Schizophrenia, Antisocial Personality Disorder, or Conduct Disorder.

Differential Diagnosis

Experimentation

Young children's experimentation and fascination with matches, lighters, and fire may be a part of their normal investigation of their environment.

Conduct Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder

In Conduct Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, and the incendiary acts of sabotage carried out by political extremists or by "paid torches," fire-setting occurs as a deliberate act rather than as a failure to resist an impulse.

Schizophrenia

In Schizophrenia, fire-setting may be in response to delusions or hallucinations.

Organic Mental Disorders

In Organic Mental Disorders, fire setting may occur because of failure to appreciate the consequences of the act.

DSM-IV

Diagnostic Criteria

A. Deliberate and purposeful fire setting on more than one occasion.

B. Tension or affective arousal before the act.

C. Fascination with, interest in, curiosity about, or attraction to dire and its situational contexts (e.g., paraphernalia, uses, consequences).

D. Pleasure, gratification, or relief when setting fires, or when witnessing or participating in their aftermath.

E. The fire setting is not done for monetary gain, as an expression of sociopolitical ideology, to conceal criminal activity, to express anger or vengeance, to improve one's living circumstances, in response to a delusion or hallucination, or as a result of impaired judgment (e.g., in dementia, Mental Retardation, Substance Intoxication).

F. The fire setting is not better accounted for by Conduct Disorder, a Manic Episode, or Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Differential Diagnosis

It is important to rule out other causes of fire setting before giving the diagnosis of Pyromania.

Intentional fire setting for attention or recognition

Intentional fire setting may occur for profit, sabotage, or revenge; to conceal a crime; to make a political statement (e.g., an act of terrorism or protest); or to attract attention or recognition (e.g., setting a fire in order to discover it and save the day).

Experimentation

Fire setting may also occur as part of developmental experimentation in childhood (e.g., playing with matches, lighters, or fire).

Communicative arson

Some individuals with mental disorders use fire setting to communicate a desire, wish, or need, often directed at gaining a change in the nature or location of services. This form of fire setting has been referred to as "communicative arson" and must be carefully distinguished from Pyromania.

Conduct Disorder, a Manic Episode, Antisocial Personality Disorder, and Psychotic Disorders

A separate diagnosis of Pyromania is not given when fire setting occurs as part of Conduct Disorder, a Manic Episode, or Antisocial Personality Disorder, or if it occurs in response to a delusion or a hallucination (e.g., in Schizophrenia).

Dementia, Mental Retardation, and Substance Intoxication

The diagnosis of Pyromania should also not be given when fire setting results from impaired judgment associated with dementia, Mental Retardation, or Substance Intoxication.

DSM-5

Diagnostic Criteria

A. Deliberate and purposeful fire setting on more than one occasion.

B. Tension or affective arousal before the act.

C. Fascination with, interest in, curiosity about, or attraction to fire and its situational contexts (e.g., paraphernalia, uses, consequences).

D. Pleasure, gratification, or relief when setting fires or when witnessing participating in their aftermath.

E. The fire setting is not done for monetary gain, as an expression of sociopolitical ideology, to conceal criminal activity, to express anger or vengeance, to improve one's living circumstances, in response to a delusion or hallucination, or as a result of impaired judgement (e.g., in major neurocognitive disorder, intellectual disability [intellectual developmental disorder], substance intoxication).

F. The fire setting is not better explained by conduct disorder, a manic episode, or antisocial personality disorder.

Differential Diagnosis

Other causes of intentional fire setting

It is important to rule out other causes of fire setting before giving the diagnosis of pyromania. Intentional fire setting may occur for profit, sabotage, or revenge; to conceal a crime; to make a political statement (e.g., an act of terrorism or protest); or to attract attention or recognition (e.g., setting a fire in order to discover it and save the day). Fire setting may also occur as part of developmental experimentation in childhood (e.g., playing with matches, lighters, or fire).

Other mental disorders

A separate diagnosis of pyromania is not given when fire setting occurs as part of conduct disorder, a manic episode, or antisocial personality disorder, or if it occurs in response to a delusion or a hallucination (e.g., in schizophrenia) or is attributable to the physiological effects of another medical condition (e.g., epilepsy). The diagnosis of pyromania should also not be given when fire setting results from impaired judgement associated with major neurocognitive disorder, intellectual disability, or substance intoxication.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.