Pyromania and Kleptomania


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Treatment Summary: Pyromania and Kleptomania are referred to as impulse control disorders in the DSM. They might also be associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder or on that continuum. One study associated them with behavioral addictions. This comorbidity has been known to react well with pharmacological and psychosocial treatments. More research must be made on these forms of treatment when dealing with cases where only one disorder exists. Cognitive behavior therapy has shown to have a heightened success rate. Through cognitive behavioral therapy the cause of the impulse must be identified. Repeated sessions must be implemented to correct or alleviate the behaviors, which often lead to costly repercussions and often loss of relationships. Each session must focus on changing the behavior or impulse: these changes in behavior may be made by exchanging the old habit with a new and more appropriate activity that may help the client improve their quality of life and relationships. Identifying effective coping strategies and techniques that will support the client is key. Some ideas may be to help the client explore the constructive and destructive magnitudes of the unwanted behaviors, self-monitoring or using a buddy system especially in risky situations. Other areas of interest and support might include parenting training, over-correction/satiation/negative practice with corrective consequences, behavior contracting/token reinforcement, special problem-solving skills training, relaxation training, covert sensitization, fire safety and prevention education, individual and family therapy.

  • Reference: Dell'Osso, B., Altamura, C., Allen, A., Marazziti, D., & Hollander, E. (2006). Epidemiological and clinical updates on impulse control disorders. Eur Arch Psychiatry, 256, 464-475. Grant, J. E., Schreiber, L. R., & Odlaug, B. L. (2013). Phenomenology and treatment of behavioral addictions. La Revue, 58, 252-259.
  • Submitter: Tiffany King
Virtual Advisor