Exact causes for BIID (Body integrity identity disorder) are yet to be determined. Due to the nature of this disorder and its complexity, many are quick to jump to the conclusion that this is a disorder of a sexual nature. Sexual motivation for an amputation, looking like an amputee or being one, is a minority among sufferers of BIID, this paraphilia is called apotemnophilia. A paraphilia is an unusual sexual interest in which sexual arousal can only achieved if the unusual condition is met, otherwise arousal will not be present. Apotemnophilia is constantly and commonly mistaken with for acrotomophilia, people who are attracted sexually to people who are amputees or missing limbs. These disorders are related and there have been cases of individuals of having both. Either way, both disorders are not commonly related to BIID.

So what is causing this disorder? Theories have flourished creating debate within the medical field. Some theories argue that this disorder is developed during childhood and present under difficult and traumatic child experiences. Various theories have been formulated as children seeing an amputee as having the ideal body image or as a subconscious way to believe that becoming disabled might earn them more attention and love by closed ones. BIID is not restricted to only amputated limbs, it also extends to becoming deaf, blind, paralyzed and other disabilities.

Mainly the sufferer of this disorder feels that one of their limbs is almost alien and believe they won’t feel whole until they are rid of it.

One thing that is widely recognized is that this is a mental condition (psychiatric disorder), a biological theory has been formulated, stating that BIID is a neuro-psychological condition on the right side of the brain and could be related to somatoparaphrenia, unlike Erectile Dysfunction to name an example of a physical condition that was for many years considered a mental disorder. BIID requires vestibular caloric stimulation (squirting cold water in the patent’s ear). In any case, this puzzling condition remains for the most part a mystery to medical science, and a lot more research is required to discern its true causes and how the disorder is triggered.

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