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  1. Chris May 31, 2009 @ 1:51 pm

    This is pretty intense. I guess it simply falls in line with a lot of the other disorders out there, but it is odd that it isn’t recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders though. I would think that they would be all over this one.

  2. Perry May 31, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

    This is where being a doctor would be incredibly difficult. I mean aside from needing know mountains of information and having pressure heeped on you by doing different operations and procedures, you also have to deal with people like this. What do you do? You know that if you don’t do it they will simply be back in front of you in a few days (or hours) with a meat cleaver in their arm…

  3. Matthew May 31, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

    The one thing that I really wonder about this disorder is what happens after the limb is removed? Is the person essentially normal because the limb that was hindering or bother them is now gone? Or do they move on to a new obsession and a new limb that “needs” to be removed?

  4. Sean O'Connor May 31, 2009 @ 5:45 pm

    Small correction: BIID doesn’t only reflect itself in a need to be amputee. Some people, such as myself, need to be paraplegic. Others need to be blind. Others yet need to be deaf.

    Regarding the DSM, it is not a question of not being *recognised* by the DSM. It has simply not yet been included in it. A big part of that is because the little research about BIID hadn’t been done at the time of the last publication of the book. The DSM’s own website points out that conditions that are not included in the DSM are still true, real, valid conditions but haven’t been included for a variety of reasons.

  5. Sean O'Connor May 31, 2009 @ 5:47 pm

    @Matthew, the answer to that is that once the person acquires the impairment they needed, they are happy. There have been many people who “did it” and they all say that the only regret they have is to not have done it sooner.

Lust for lacking limbs, (yes, seriously)

Mental Health Comments (5)

It may still be strange to you, but it’s not uncommon to hear a story about a person who claims to have been born in the wrong body, or just with the wrong parts. These fall under the more or less familiar category of gender identity disorder (GID). Somehow though, I doubt you’re familiar with this one’s distant psychologically challenged cousin. I think it’s time to meet Body Integrity Identity Disorder.

Yes, it involves some of the same slicing, dicing and overall body altering as GID, but I’d have to say this one’s just a little more…extreme? Well, I guess that’s up to you to decide.

Also known as BIID, this unofficially recognized (means it’s not recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, otherwise known as the bible of the mental health community) mental disorder is characterized simply by a burning desire to have something amputated.

No, you read the previous sentence correctly. People suffering from this actually wish, pray, yearn, and just plain want one or more limbs cut and removed from their bodies.

People interviewed with BIID describe the feeling as “overwhelming” and many have turned to doctors to help them achieve their goal of less limbs.

One Scottish doctor, as reported by Fox News, made headlines back in 2000 when he amputated the healthy, perfectly functional legs of two BIID sufferers. The doctor claimed to be following the Hippocratic Oath by preventing his patients from resorting to more harmful methods of amputation.

Those “more harmful” methods the doctor was pointing to involve people jumping in from of moving vehicles, slamming windows and doors on appendages and some that just jump for the nearest machete or meat cleaver. (Again, I’m not kidding.)

Just when I was beginning to think that lacking limbs were only for war veterans, those born without them and the Barbie dolls my little brothers stole and ravaged from me when we were kids…. Guess I was wrong.

Brittany @ May 31, 2009

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