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Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), also known as Amputee Identity Disorder or Apotemnophilia (from Greek αποτέμνειν "to cut off", and φιλία "love of") is the overwhelming desire to amputate one or more healthy limbs or other parts of the body. The more recent names have generally replaced the name "apotemnophilia" because the identification of this disorder simply as a paraphilia is now increasingly believed to be incorrect.
A person with BIID typically wants one or more of his or her limbs cut off. The condition should not be mistaken for a person with acrotomophilia, who is sexually attracted to other persons who are already missing limbs. However, there does seem to be some relationship between the two disorders, with some individuals exhibiting both conditions.
Today, very few surgeons will treat BIID patients by giving them what they want. There are hence several recorded cases of sufferers resorting to self-amputation of a "superfluous" limb, for example by allowing a train to run over it, or by damaging the limb so badly that surgeons will have to amputate it. Often the obsession is with one specific limb, with patients "not feeling complete while they still have a left leg", for example. The condition is usually treated, unsuccessfully, as a psychiatric disorder.
Persons suffering from BIID can be as young as four or five years old when they first discover their condition, for example by feeling jealous of an amputee.
Some act out their desires, pretending they are amputees using prostheses and other tools to ease their desire to be one.
Some people suffer also from the desire of becoming paralyzed.
There is much more research needed to be done about BIID and apotemnophilia - only a few reports have been done on the subject; but as research gains ground, more and more hospitals recognize the condition.
- Amputee Identity Disorder: Information, questions answers, and recommendations about self-demand amputation by Gregg M. Furth & Robert Smith (1stBooks)
- The documentary Whole (film)
BIID in popular culture
- In the Nip/Tuck episode "Ben White," the title character wants a healthy leg amputated in order to feel whole.
- In the CSI: New York episode "Outside Man", the detectives discover the world of BIID when one such person with the disorder becomes the victim of a case.
- Body dysmorphic disorder
- Gender identity disorder
- Body image
- Body modification
- Alien hand syndrome
- BIID.org (Internet Archive)
- The Apotemnophile
- slate.com article: "Costing an arm and a leg"
- Bensler JM, Paauw DS. Apotemnophilia masquerading as medical morbidity. South Med J. 2003 Jul;96(7):674-6.
- Wise TN, Kalyanam RC. Amputee fetishism and genital mutilation: case report and literature review. J Sex Marital Ther. 2000 Oct-Dec;26(4):339-44.
- Bruno, Richard L. "Devotees, Pretenders, and Wannabes: Two Cases of Factitious Disability Disorder." Sexuality and Disability. 15.4 (Winter 1997): 243-260.
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