Fear of Fire(Pyrophobia ): Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, Therapies

Fear of fire or pyrophobia is a fear of fire, which can be considered irrational if it goes beyond what is deemed to be expected. This phobia is ancient and primordial, perhaps since humanity discovered fire. Being “afraid” of fire is natural. This fear is intended to protect us from the possible dangers that the latter may pose (fire in particular). On the other hand, when fear becomes disabling, we speak of phobia.

In this case, it is a set of behaviors and thoughts unsuitable for fire. Here are some examples:

  • Unreasonable fear of being burned
  • Impossibility or great difficulty in handling objects that can generate fire (for example, lighter),
  • Inability or great difficulty to view images and videos related to fire.
  • In all cases, the patient is fully aware of his fear’s irrational and excessive nature.

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The most common cause of pyrophobia is that fire poses a potential hazard, such as a house fire, forest fire, and fire. Some intensely pyrophobic people cannot even approach or tolerate a small controlled fire, such as a fireplace, bonfire, or lit candle. A bad childhood experience with fire may have triggered the condition in many cases.

Symptoms of fear of fire

If a pyrophobia sees fire, the person may sweat and experience dizziness or an upset stomach. A person with severe pyrophobia who catches fire may panic and experience rapid breathing, irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath, nausea, dry mouth, fear, feeling trapped, and shaking or passing out.


The first task of the psychologist will be to assess the extent of the phobia (social and personal consequences, age of the disorder). Then, a first therapeutic orientation is proposed. This type of phobia is treated relatively well once the patient has a genuine desire for change.

Exposure therapy is the most common way to treat pyrophobia. This method involves showing patients the fires in order of increase in size, from a lit cigarette to a stove to a grill flame.

Another treatment method is talk therapy, in which the patient tells the therapist the cause of this fear. This can calm the patient, making them less afraid of controlled fire. People can alleviate pyrophobia by interacting with other pyrophoric to share their experiences that caused fear. Alternatively, pyrophobia can be treated with hypnosis.

Medication can also be used to treat pyrophobic people, although the method is not highly recommended since it has side effects.

Georgia Tarrant
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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.