Mental Health Monday–Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID)


A couple weekends ago, I got caught up in watching several episodes of a show called Taboo. One of the segments detailed a sufferer of Body Integrity Identity Disorder (formerly known as Amputee Identity Disorder).

Theory posits that the parietal lobe (responsible for allowing us to recognize our body parts as our own) is not functioning correctly. As a result, the person with BIID has a strong desire to amputate the offending limb with the belief he or she will be much happier without it.

Interestingly, KEEPING the limb intact causes significant distress, anxiety, and depression.  They will often “pretend” to be an amputee to ease some of their distress.

People with the disorder have gone to extreme lengths to red themselves of the limb they “don’t recognize,” including freezing the limb, cutting it off, or forcing doctors to remove the limb because of some irreversible damage they incur.

The majority of people with BIID are middle-aged men and they most commonly want to amputate their left leg. (Why this is the case, no one knows.)

Did you know that Christopher Paolini featured BIID in his novel, Brisingr. The Priests of Helgrin amputate a limb as a “show of faith.”

Thoughts? Comments?

Check out Lydia’s Medical Monday post and Sarah’s psychologically related post! Remember, these posts are for writing purposes only and are NOT to be construed as medical advice or treatment.