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Welcome!

We provide

scientific and educational information

on Body Integrity Identity Disorder

 What is BIID? 

PEOPLE'S STORIES

 

* BIID, or Body Integrity Identity Disorder, is a condition in which someone is uncomfortable in their own body and have an intense and persisting desire to become physically disabled.

* There have been similarities drawn between BIID and Body Dysmorphic Disorder. However, in cases of BIID, this experience of unhappiness is not related to the appearance of the body part (i.e. whether it is “nice” or not) as in BDD.  

* Typically, BIID desires will emerge from a very early age. However, due to the condition’s rarity and stigma, desires are usually suppressed until adulthood when they can manifest into overwhelming thoughts. 

* BIID can be very harmful as people can become so preoccupied by these desires that this can interfere with their daily lives. It can be a struggle for people with BIID to form close relationships as they may feel like they have to lie about their condition which can leave them feeling isolated. Even more worringly, there have been cases of people attempting to become disabled with illegal or home "treatments" which has put their lives at great risk.   

 

BIID can present in different ways, for instance:

Limbs– in which an individual believes that one or more limbs do not belong on their body and wishes to become an amputee 

“I have always felt that my right arm does not belong”

 

Paraplegia – in which an individual believes they should not be able to move and wishes to become paralysed 

"I can move, but instead i would like not to be able to"

 

Senses – in which an individual believes they should not be able to see/hear/speak

“I don’t think I should be able to see”

If you feel the need to contact us regarding any of this information please click here.

 

 What is the Cause of BIID? 

 

The exact cause of BIID is not known - due to the scarce research conducted until nowadays.

Scientists have started discovering that some areas of the brain of people with BIID *might* function differently than in others. However, this does not mean that BIID is a "brain disorder": we know the brain functions differently, but we do not why.  

 As such, more research is need to understand BIID, including research on brain changes, but also social influnces and psychological reactions

 

 Treatments 

 

Unfortunately, there is no scientifically proved valid treatment for BIID. 

Commonly, people suffering from BIID use a technique called pretending to deal with their desires. For hours, when possible, people for instance use wheelchairs or special glasses to mimick their desired disabled state. Usually pretending is done in the secrecy of the home, or in locations far from where people leave.

Therapy can be offered to help patients with coping mechanisms to improve their daily lives, until more is known on the condition and a solution is found. Have a look here at the resources available. 

 

If you feel the need to contact us regarding any of this information please click here.

 

 Changes in Terminology 

Despite being a relatively new and udnerstudied condition, BIID has already been known by different names.  

Apotemnophilia (1977): or ‘love of amputation’; this name has since been dismissed as it focuses only on sexual fulfilment as the motivation to become disabled.

Body Identity Integrity Disorder (2005): perhaps the most well-known name for this condition. BIID means that a person self-identity does not match the physical one.

Xenomelia (2011): a Greek word meaning ‘foreign’ and ‘limb’ coined to draw a parallel between BIID and somatoparaphrenia (a delusion regarding a paralyzed limb and sense of it not belonging that can emerge after a brain stroke).

Body Integrity Dysphoria (2019): most recently the condition has been known by Body Integrity Dysphoria.  For this ICD-11 click here. 

 Note: in this website, we adopted the term "BIID" as the "body integrity dysphoria" is not widely used yet. 


 If you feel the need to contact us regarding any of this information please click here.

 

DISCLAIMER: The information presented on this website is not to be considered medical advice and is not to replace consultation with qualified professionals. Please do not use the information on this website to self-diagnose.