LIFE

12 Unusual Mental Illnesses You’ve Never Heard Of

Do you vomit when you go to Paris? Compulsively tear out your pubic hair? Maybe you think your hand is trying to kill you or that you’re rotting from the inside out. If so, chances are you’re suffering from one of these weird and not-so-wonderful rare mental illnesses.

Body Identity Integrity Disorder

Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) causes sufferers to sense that parts of their bodies are alien or don’t belong to them; overwhelming them with the desire to be  an amputee. So strong is the distress felt by patients that many of them feel compelled to follow through with these feelings and actually amputate their own limbs.  Other forms of this disorder manifest in the desire to be permanently paralysed, blind or deaf. People with BIID have been known to chop off their limbs with chainsaws, lie down on railway tracks to separate themselves from an unwanted leg or mutilate themselves so that doctors are required to amputate, which goes some way to demonstrating the pure torture experienced by sufferers. The drastic and irreversible measure of elective amputation is rarely if ever recommended by psychiatrists despite the relief it might bring to patients. Sufferers point out that this is unfair, given that those with the controversialy named ‘Gender Identity Disorder’ routinely undergo equally as radical and irreversible operations to transform into members of the opposite sex.

Importantly, of those who follow through with their desires to be rid of their limbs, very few report having regrets and declare a decreased sense of distress and mental anguish. There is obviously an enormous stigma of wanting to be amputated or paralysed when those who are unwillingly paralysed or amputees would likely give anything to trade their broken bodies with the healthy ones of BIID. Consequently, sufferers of BIID often enrage disabled communities for their perceived thoughtlessness and ungratefulness. The exact cause of BIID is yet to be discovered, though some tests suggest that the disorder could be a brain malfunction, wherein the brain doesn’t recognise the limb in its concept or ‘map’ of the body. Others suggest that it could be linked with somatoparaphrenia, which results from damage to the parietal lobe after a stroke. What remains true is that these feelings of disgust or rejection are almost invariably deep-rooted, with sufferers first experiencing such thought processes during childhood.


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