Body Integrity Identity Disorder, or BIID, is a psychological disorder in which an otherwise healthy person believes they are meant to be disabled. Often, the person suffering from BIID feels that one of their limbs does not belong to them, and they have an incessant need to amputate it in order to feel whole. As strange as that may sound, it’s not entirely unfounded. There have been roughly 300 or so documented cases of BIID. Yet, the scientific community is torn over the causes of the disorder as well as the ethical issues centered on treating patients. Some scholars believe that the rise in body dissociative cases began as soon as the international media started running stories about self-mutilation, and that most sufferers are intense hypochondriacs, or worse, that they’re looking for attention. But that doesn’t really speak to the stories on this list of people who either wanted to amputate a limb or disable themselves in some way. Most of the people reported that they felt a sense of freedom when they removed their legs or blinded themselves. Read on to find out more about this rare disorder, and leave us a comment about whether you think disabling oneself is a mental disability, a type of identity disorder, a cry for help, or something else.
Mariah Cut Off Her Leg So She Could Wear HeelsPhoto: Metaweb / CC-BY
In 2012, Mariah Serrano had her left leg cut off below the knee so she could be fitted with a prosthesis that would allow her to wear high heels. She'd lived most of her life with a deformed foot, but after having to wear tennis shoes to her prom and years of taunting from peers, she opted to have the surgery.
Mom Is So Worried About Varicose Veins That She Begged for AmputationPhoto: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
In 2015, Claire Jones, a mother who was suffering from venephobia (a fear of veins), begged surgeons to amputate her legs. Although she was refused an amputation, she was offered a surgery that would remove the varicose veins.
Teenage Girls Wants Her Foot Cut Off So That She Can Run FasterPhoto: flickr / CC0
Danielle Bradshaw is a teenage athlete who was born with developmental dysplasia, which means that her right leg had been completely useless since birth, so she had it amputated in order to have a prosthesis installed so she could run. In 2014, she began asking her parents to allow her to amputate her right leg in order to add a second prosthetic limb that would allow her to run even faster.
Karl the Double AmputeePhoto: Metaweb / GNU Free Documentation License
Karl (not his real name), wanted so badly to lose his legs that he sat in his car and spent six hours with his legs packed in 100 pounds of dry ice for 45 minutes. Afterwards, he drove himself to the ER where his legs were amputated.