How do I know if I have BIID?

Given there is no official definition of BIID in any of the medical diagnostic texts, we cannot give you a ‘diagnosis,’ and as we are not medical professionals, it would not be appropriate anyway. Given also there are few medical professionals who have heard of BIID, you are unlikely to find a definitive diagnosis. However, we are able to give guidance based on collective experiences and peer support. Check the following list of symptoms and see how you rate. By way of personal declaration, Robert Vickers and Sean O'Connor suffered all the symptoms below to varying intensity over thirty years.

[edit] Symptoms

(adapted from

Most BIID sufferers have all or a combination of the following symptoms:

  • A feeling of “incompleteness and disability” as an able bodied individual but a certainty of a feeling of “completeness and enablement” after acquiring the required impairment.
  • A fixed idea about the impairment required. It appears that the most common required impairment is a unilateral above knee amputation but different impairments may be needed by different people, such as paralysis, blindness, deafness, and others yet.
  • A feeling of intense jealousy at the sight of someone who has the impairment required.
  • Feelings of shame and unworthiness about the feelings. These individuals feel completely alone and do not believe anyone else can suffer from such bizarre ideas. They may have been in psychiatric treatment without ever informing the therapists of their underlying desire.
  • Repeated episodes of depression and sometimes suicidal thoughts.
  • Sometimes there have been plans of self injury to achieve impairment.
  • An apparent failure of the currently available psychiatric treatments to resolve their problem.
  • Rehearsal activity (pretending) during which they imitate the impaired state in private and in public.
  • A feeling that they are alone in the world with the desire to become impaired.

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