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Paralyzed by desire: a new type of body integrity identity disorder


Giummarra, M J; Bradshaw, J L; Hilti, L M; Nicholls, M E R; Brugger, P (2012). Paralyzed by desire: a new type of body integrity identity disorder. Cognitive And Behavioral Neurology, 25(1):34-41.

Abstract

ACKGROUND:Body incongruity in body integrity identity disorder (BIID) manifests in the desire to have a healthy limb amputated. We describe a variant of the disorder: the desire to become paralyzed (paralysis-BIID).
METHOD:Sixteen otherwise healthy participants, recruited through Internet-based forums, websites, or word of mouth, completed questionnaires about details of their desire and accompanying symptoms.
RESULTS:Onset of the desire for paralysis typically preceded puberty. All participants indicated a specific level for desired spinal cord injury. All participants simulated paralysis through mental imagery or physical pretending, and 9 (56%) reported erotic interest in paraplegia and/or disability. Our key new finding was that 37.5% of paralysis-BIID participants were women, compared with 4.4% women in a sample of 68 individuals with amputation-BIID.
CONCLUSIONS:BIID reflects a disunity between self and body, usually with a prominent sexual component. Sex-related differences are emerging: unlike men, a higher proportion of women desire paralysis than desire amputation, and, while men typically seek unilateral amputation, women typically seek bilateral amputation. We propose that these sex-related differences in BIID manifestation may relate to sex differences in cerebral lateralization, or to disruption of representation and/or processing of body-related information in right-hemisphere frontoparietal networks.

Abstract

ACKGROUND:Body incongruity in body integrity identity disorder (BIID) manifests in the desire to have a healthy limb amputated. We describe a variant of the disorder: the desire to become paralyzed (paralysis-BIID).
METHOD:Sixteen otherwise healthy participants, recruited through Internet-based forums, websites, or word of mouth, completed questionnaires about details of their desire and accompanying symptoms.
RESULTS:Onset of the desire for paralysis typically preceded puberty. All participants indicated a specific level for desired spinal cord injury. All participants simulated paralysis through mental imagery or physical pretending, and 9 (56%) reported erotic interest in paraplegia and/or disability. Our key new finding was that 37.5% of paralysis-BIID participants were women, compared with 4.4% women in a sample of 68 individuals with amputation-BIID.
CONCLUSIONS:BIID reflects a disunity between self and body, usually with a prominent sexual component. Sex-related differences are emerging: unlike men, a higher proportion of women desire paralysis than desire amputation, and, while men typically seek unilateral amputation, women typically seek bilateral amputation. We propose that these sex-related differences in BIID manifestation may relate to sex differences in cerebral lateralization, or to disruption of representation and/or processing of body-related information in right-hemisphere frontoparietal networks.

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10 citations in Web of Science®
12 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:29 Nov 2012 12:14
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:07
Publisher:Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
Series Name:Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology
ISSN:1543-3633
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1097/Wnn.0b013e318249865a
PubMed ID:22353728

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