Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Beyond Fiction

From: cartwheel

"A surgeon who amputated the healthy limbs from two psychologically disturbed men at their request said yesterday that he saw nothing wrong with his actions and that he was disappointed he would not be able to carry out such operations again….
     The two men were suffering from an extremely rare form of body dysmorphic disorder known as apotemnophilia. Those suffering from the disease have an obsessive belief that their body is "incomplete" with four limbs and will only be complete after amputation. In most cases of apotemnophilia the desire to be an amputee is linked to a form of sexual arousal, but Mr Smith said there was no suggestion that any of his patients were motivated by sexual urges."
—Gerard Seenan, The Guardian
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"THIS WASN'T THE FIRST time that David had tried to amputate his leg. When he was just out of college, he’d tried to do it using a tourniquet fashioned out of an old sock and strong baling twine.
     David locked himself in his bedroom at his parents’ house, his bound leg propped up against the wall to prevent blood from flowing into it. After two hours the pain was unbearable, and fear sapped his will.
     Undoing a tourniquet that has starved a limb of blood can be fatal: injured muscles downstream of the blockage flood the body with toxins, causing the kidneys to fail. Even so, David released the tourniquet himself; it was just as well that he hadn’t mastered the art of tying one.
     Failure did not lessen David’s desire to be rid of the leg. It began to consume him, to dominate his awareness. The leg was always there as a foreign body, an impostor, an intrusion….
     This time he settled for dry ice, one of the preferred methods of self-amputation among the BIID [Body Integrity Identity Disorder] community. The idea is to freeze the offending limb and damage it to the point that doctors have no choice but to amputate. David drove over to his local Walmart and bought two large trashcans. The plan was brutal, but simple. First, he would submerge the leg in a can full of cold water to numb it. Then he would pack it in a can full of dry ice until it was injured beyond repair."
— Anil Ananthaswamy, Matter
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"Capgras' Syndrome is a delusional disorder in which the victim believes that all of his close friends and family members have been replaced with nearly-exact replicas, often perceived as robots or actors. Cotard's Syndrome involves believing yourself to be dead, that you no longer exist, and (sometimes) that your limbs and body belong to another. These two disorders do not deserve separate writeups because they are caused by damage to the same part of the right hemisphere of the cerebral cortex, and are thus just different cognitive interpretations of the same perception. Cotard's is always accompanied by severe depression, while Capgras' is not, in most cases."
everything 2
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