Some Desire For Disability: Body Integrity Identity Disorder

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Some healthy people do indeed have a desire for a form of disability. When you hear them say "This leg doesn't belong to me," it is totally confusing; but if you see what they would do just to get that leg amputated, it becomes more and more confusing. Not everybody longs for being or staying healthy. Doctors still don't know what causes this; the research is still ongoing, however when doctors are convinced that there is no other way around this, they do amputate the limb. It looks like people with this disorder couldn't care less about phantom pain. Let's see what this is about:

These individuals think that some of their body parts don't belong to them, and that those body parts aren't included in their physical integrity, or that they don't have a place in their body.

This is where the ideal body perception and physical appearance are different.

People who suffer from this disorder are extremely annoyed by their legs and arms.

There are two possibilities here: one person hates his/her left leg, finds it utterly ugly, and can't bear the sight of it. Another one feels as if his left leg was taken from somebody else's body, and can't bear the very existence of that leg. Only way to ease their pain is to get rid of that leg.

This is a very rare condition.

The patients believe that their bodies don't comply with their self-image that they have in their minds. They feel that unwanted limbs, ugly or not, make them flawed and disabled.

They are mostly prone to be jealous of amputees, but then they feel ashamed of this emotion and don't express it.

Doctors are pretty undecided: some of the patients have obsessive-compulsive tendencies, some have childhood traumas or some identify themselves with amputees to excess; and some want to be a person, who has accomplished something, even as an amputee.

Some other experts think that this condition has something to do with body dysmorphic disorder.

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For example, those who don't like their nose obsess about this constantly, and try to hide their nose in their daily life and eventually get it done with cosmetic surgery. Likewise, anorexia (very thin people thinking they are over-weight) is quite similar to the psychological symptoms of this disorder.

A popular idea among psychologists and neurologists is that the brain isn't mapped correctly.

In other words, they think that the organ that the patients think doesn't belong to their bodies doesn't have a neural counterpart in the brain. The expected response isn't observed when this foreign organ is stimulated. Brain mapping occurs at an early age; and most of the patients report feeling that way since their childhood.

When this disorder was first observed in the 90's, it was associated with Apotemnophilia (a person being turned on by the thought of not having a limb).

However, now it is known that there is no underlying sexual motivation associated with this disorder.

If you think that these people are mentally unstable, you are wrong.

Contrary to the what most  people assume, the people who suffer from this disorder have a successful life, family and a job.

"Everybody wants to change something about themselves. I've wished for not having legs since I was six. I feel like I am trapped in the wrong body. I can't be myself when I have these two legs. I need both of them to go in order to go on with my life."

These are words of a woman suffering from this disorder.

The same woman tried to hurt her legs and get them amputated, but failed. Finally, when she had a gangrene risk, the doctor agreed to amputate one of her legs.

After the operation she said: "I feel so good after the surgery that my self-esteem has increased; my body looks more like how I want it to look."

A man, who wanted to be rid of one of his legs since his childhood, visited many psychologists, psychiatrists and doctors.

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When he was sent home because he was 'all better', he shot himself in the leg and got it amputated. He had a happy youth, a good marriage and career; children, grand children: what looks like a perfectly normal life. After a while, however, it turned out that his childhood best friend was an amputee.

These patients can draw a very precise line as to from which part on the organ feels to be foreign to them.

They might resort to very excessive 'solutions' such as keeping that body part in ice to eventually kill it, jumping in front of a car on purpose, and even lying on train rails.

According to scientists, people who try to look like an animal, who get tattoos everywhere on their bodies, modify their teeth and tongues, and pierce excessively are wandering very close to this disorder.

According to scientists, people who try to look like an animal, who get tattoos everywhere on their bodies, modify their teeth and tongues, and pierce excessively are wandering very close to this disorder.
According to scientists, people who try to look like an animal, who get tattoos everywhere on their bodies, modify their teeth and tongues, and pierce excessively are wandering very close to this disorder.

Because it all comes to the same point: the discomfort and agony caused by the body that is naturally-inborn attained. People come to a point where they can't take it anymore, so they want to sacrifice a body part, or modify it with tattoos, or make it unrecognizable with piercings.

Let's lastly hear from John, who spoke with the nickname "Vice News."

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He said that he wanted to be an amputee since puberty. "The lower part of my left leg always disturbed me. I was pretending to be an amputee even when I was a child. It is very difficult to explain this discomfort, but every step I took felt weird." He made a plan when he was 15: lying on the rails and once his leg comes off, saying that he fell of his bike. He couldn't implement this plan but he managed to get his leg amputated 10 years later. However, he didn't disclose how he did it. He is very happy with his life now. "The rest of my body does belong to me and I want it to be with me. I sometimes miss my leg, but as soon as I remember the discomfort I felt back then, the missing feeling stops. The only reason why I am telling you about this is because I want people like me to be accepted by society. That's how they can ask for help without having to go too far."

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