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23 - Pyromania: Clinical Aspects

from Section IV - Sexual and Aggressive Impulses

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 July 2010

Elias Aboujaoude
Affiliation:
Stanford University School of Medicine, California
Lorrin M. Koran
Affiliation:
Stanford University School of Medicine, California
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Summary

Pyromania is defined as an impulsive behavior leading to fire setting without an identifiable motive other than taking pleasure in viewing the fire and its effects. An abnormal interest in fire is especially important in populations of fire officers who become pyromaniacs. Delinquents who commit the criminal act with a group of fire setters are mentally healthier than those who commit the crime individually. The reported prevalence of personality disorders in arsonists and fire setters varies between 25% and 66%. Arson has also been reported to be associated with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. The psychoanalytic approach aims to explore the unconscious motivation behind fire setting and the symbolism of fire. Treatment options for impulse control disorders (ICDs) include both pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy. The majority of treatment studies regarding pathological fire setting deals with children and adolescents.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

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