ANSWERS: 5
  • 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. Sometimes its sufferers take it upon themselves to amputate their own limbs and/or penis. Although it most commonly refers to people who wish to amputate limbs, the term BIID also applies to those who wish to alter their bodily integrity in general. Taken from Wikipedia - full article here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apotemnophilia
  • I've seen a few people with this BIID who ARE "addicted" (in their own way) TO cosmetic surgery. I guess they find their own bodies so disgusting or disturbing that they feel the need to constantly alter their appearance with surgery. Heavy stuff. And to actually answer the question... I don't think that ALL people who seek cosmetic surgery are mentally disturbed. In contrast to that, ALL sufferers of BIID ARE disturbed, and quite obviously in most cases. The "normal" person who seeks cosmetic surgery isn't mentally ill, but simply unhappy with a certain aspect of their appearance. There may be *some* overlap between the two groups (BIID sufferers who become "addicted" to plastic surgery... plastic surgery addicts who develop BIIDS?).
  • I think it's a fine line between relatively harmless fetish and dysfunction and this disorder crosses the line. It is self-destructive and that cannot be healthy. I think these people should seek help and that Drs should be on the look out for it to try and stop it.
  • First, as to the comments... Seeking repeated cosmetic surgery is not BIID. People who have Body Integrity Identity Disorder seek to have an impairment, and once they have reached their needed body, do not seek further procedures. I think the commenter confuses BIID with BDD, Body Dysmorphia Disorder, which does indeed cause some people to have repeated surgeries. @ James, keep in mind that BIID, while not included in the DSM yet, will not be classified as a paraphilia - that is, it is not a sexually oriented desire. It also is erroneous to think of it as Amputee Identity Disorder, because people who have BIID may need different impairments, such as paraplegia, blindness or deafness. AID may be a subset of BIID. The wikipedia entry is not particularly accurate at this point. @ Debsmooth, your response is typical of many people's response. "You're sick, go get help". The problem being that there is no help available. The vast majority of psychiatrists and psychologists have never even heard of BIID. They have no idea what it is, confuse it with many other conditions. THe few that do get it are powerless to help in any case. The ONLY known solution to BIID at this point is surgery. Which is not possible because surgeons won't perform these procedures. You may learn more on http://biid-info.org which provides most of the current research and academic writing on BIID. You may also wish to read my multi-author blog talking about the experience of having BIID at http://transabled.org As to the original question, it is a good and tricky question. I prefer to look at it slightly differently though. Why is it that surgeons refuse to provide surgery to people with BIID when they don't hesitate to provide it to people "addicted" to cosmetic surgery? There have been some good academic writing on the matter, notably the following two articles: http://biid-info.org/The_Rhetorical_Limits_of_the_%22Plastic_Body%22 and http://biid-info.org/Integrity%2C_Mayhem%2C_and_the_Question_of_Self-demand_Amputation
  • Oranges and apples. People seek cosmetic surgery to attempt to make themselves more attractive, while BIID sufferers (such as myself) are more related to the transgendered as far as feeling as though they're in the wrong body. Both are mentally disturbed because they can't feel comfortable in their own bodies. I'd also like to add that BIID is not necessarily destructive. I know it's crazy. If there was something I could do to suppress it, I would. However, does an amputated leg cause further health problems? Not as often as a breast implant hides a tumor or a body reacts to unwanted chemicals or a tummy tuck goes wrong. Just because it's taboo doesn't mean it's more dangerous. It's the same thing. Say your nose is perfectly healthy but you want it thinner. My leg is perfectly healthy but I don't want it. "Do no harm" but they'll break your nose, scrape it down to size. Now beware of the person with the perfectly healthy leg! You see yourself with a thinner nose; I see myself with one leg. We're both healthy yet tortured by the need for a change. If you're not "mentally disturbed" why am I? I'm sure when cosmetic surgery first came around, it was taboo and disgusting. And the thing that really gets me about this topic is: Why are non-sufferers so hateful to us? It's this attitude that keeps me from really seeking help. Any other mental disorder can be addressed and dealt with. I'm just told how sick I must be.

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