Friday, June 24, 2016


Impulse control disorders are a class of psychiatric disorders characterized by failure to resist a temptation, urge or impulse that may harm oneself or others. Pyromania is an impulse control disorder in which individuals repeatedly fail to resist impulses to deliberately start fires, in order to relieve tension or for instant gratification. It is distinct from arson in which those fires are set deliberate for personal, monetary, or political gain. Pyromaniacs start fires to induce euphoria. They often fixate on institutions of fire control like fire stations. There are no specific symptoms that separate pyromaniacs from those who start fires for criminal purposes or due to emotional motivations not specifically related to fire. Because of its nature, the number of studies performed for fire-setting are very few. However, studies done on children and adolescents suffering from this disorder have reported its prevalence to between 2.4%-3.5% in the United States. It has been observed that the incidence of setting fires is more common in juvenile and teenage boys than girls of the same age. There are three therapy treatments: cognitive behavioral, behavioral modification and exposure. However, pyromania is harder to control in adults due to lack of co-operation. Cognitive therapy encourages the patient to identify behavioral patterns and the negative consequences that are associated with these behaviors. Behavioral modification therapy teaches how to avoid the situation and use self-restraint techniques to expose the situation. Exposure therapy gradually helps build up a tolerance to the situation. It also uses self-techniques to expose the situation. Some alternative therapies, such as medication, hypnotism and herbal remedies have been proven beneficial. At this time, the FDA has not approved specific medications that have been proven effective.

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