To understand pyromania, it is necessary first to distinguish the term from other acts of firesetting. Firesetting denotes accidental or intentional firesetting, whereas arson is a legal definition of a criminal act involving intentional and malicious firesetting. Pyromania is a clinical term used to identify a category of deliberate firesetting driven by an underlying compulsion relating to fire and its trappings.

This discussion provides orientation to the diagnostic and classification criteria of pyromania, as well as to the research on which much of the current understanding of pyromania is based. The clinical significance of understanding the distinction between pyromania and pathological firesetting is also considered. Developing a clear understanding of how pyromania is fundamentally different from other forms of intentional or pathological firesetting is important for ...

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