This page is for people seeking information on Body Integrity Identity Disorder, or, BIID. Here are links to articles culled from various internet sites for the purpose of education on the subject or for personal enlightenment. If you have comments, suggestions, or additional articles and information for this page, please direct them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
There isn’t much research done on BIID to clearly state a cause or its exact origins. One of our forum members wrote this recently:
The best way to think about BIID is this:
It is a condition likely caused by a neurological defect in the brain that maps out your body. (There have been studies indicating that this may be true.) So our brains are telling us that we shouldn’t have certain use of parts of our body, even though logically, we KNOW that it is not physically true.
So it’s not able-bodied people “wanting” to have a disability. It’s able-bodied people whose brains are giving a body map that doesn’t match our actual bodies.
With this “body map” and our actual bodies not matching, you can imagine what kind of emotional grief this can cause. So many of us cope by “pretending” — we live our lives as close to our “body map” as possible, in order to relieve the symptoms of BIID. For me, that involves using a wheelchair full-time.
In order words, “pretending” keeps us emotionally balanced enough to live out our lives.
Not being able to “pretend” often leads to depression (suicide attempts for some), decrease in productivity and other negative emotional issues (such as panic attacks). I can tell you first-hand — it is not fun. I was so sure I was going to die.
It is NOT:
-an attempt to gain pity or sympathy.
-a psychosis (since we are aware that we’re not physically disabled).
-an attempt to gain benefits, such as welfare, disability benefits, preferred seating on public transit, etc.
-an attempt to minimize the legitimate suffering that people with disabilities may deal with.
-an attempt to use a wheelchair for convenience. If it rains or snows, I still wheel. If I’m blocked by stairs, I will not simply carry the chair up the stairs.
-a sexual fetish (for most… I can’t speak for everyone). Psychologists tend to think BIID is a sexual deviance. On its own, BIID is not sexual at all.
There is no cure. The only “cure” (which I don’t like) is to actually acquire the disabilities needed to match our “body maps.” I don’t like this cure because I want to believe that there is another alternative.
Right now, I find that simply living my life in a wheelchair is already a good enough “cure.”
As Chloe said, it CANNOT be cured by having another disability. Some people with BIID have legitimate physical disabilities, but if the condition doesn’t match the “body map,” then it does nothing to help BIID.
It also CANNOT be cured with medication or therapies, as far as we know — nothing has been proven to work so far. So those who tell us to “get help”… well, what help? There is no “help” that has been proven to work.
-people with BIID tend to have a better understanding of many disability issues, particularly with discrimination, accessibility, employment and difficulties with social acceptance.
-people with BIID are often strong supporters (and sometimes advocates) for disability rights.
-people with BIID don’t see disability as a negative thing like many others do. We believe that having a disability doesn’t make you less capable, less of a person, less desirable or less intelligent.
-people with BIID often do their research. So if you’re someone with an SCI who wants to talk about incontinence, we’re okay with that and probably read up on it already.
-for some bizarre reason, many people with BIID tend to have completed higher education (such as university), so you’re dealing with people capable of intelligent debate.
I hope that helps you understand what BIID is and what BIID is not.
The following links to files are a collection of various articles and papers I’ve collected over the past few years. Most of these were posted on biid-info.org. To download a file, right-click on the link and select “Save link as…” from the contextual menu. Viewing files may require helper applications such as Adobe Reader or Microsoft Word.