• Category: Psychology
  • Words: 787
  • Grade: 85

        There are many psychological conditions out there in today's world. Many are considered normal and many are considered abnormal. Apotemnophilia is a condition that many people in this world have never even heard of, yet it is a condition that many people have. Our culture has created sets of values and ideals that we should all live by. We live in a world where anything out of the ordinary is considered abnormal. Believe it or not, a small but significant population of the world is infatuated with the idea of amputation as a form of therapy. This is apotemnophilia, a condition that is being studied the world over. What would cause a seemingly healthy human being to desire to have his or her legs chopped off above the knee, without the use of Novocain. How has a our produced people who look forward to losing their limbs. If you were to take a poll of the world population and ask them if they thought it was normal to freely amputate a healthy limb, you would definitely see a significant number of responses in the "no" column. Therefore this can be considered an abnormal psychological condition, much like foot fetishes and bestiality. Apotemnophilia is a condition that many people cannot grasp, but "because our culture emphasizes individual choice," (Macionis 22) people can freely decide on the fate of their limbs.
        Apotemnophilia is defined as the attraction to the idea of being an amputee. Similar, but slightly varying in idea is, acrotomophilia, which is the sexual attraction to amputees. Basically, your average apotemnophiliac will need to have either one or a couple limbs amputated before he or she is mentally healthy or fulfilled. It is more a need than a want for true apotemnophiliacs. Much like transvestites do not feel right in their own body, people suffering from this condition do not feel right with all of their limbs. Where does this condition come from? This is the issue that many scientists and psychologists are battling today. Although it is extremely rare in the world by percentage comparison, it is still profound enough to be considered for the proposed DSM-V. To be included it must fulfill certain issues of significance.
        Apotemnophiliacs are steadily on the rise due to one technological advancement; the internet. The internet is bringing people with this condition together in swarms. Discussing their conditions in chat rooms and e-mails allows them to expand their horizons. Our culture has allowed basically anything to occur through the internet.
        Apotemnophiliacs are closely related to people with gender identity disorders, the diagnosis for people who wish to live as the opposite sex. "Like these people, who are uncomfortable with their identities and want to change sex, apotemnophiliacs are uncomfortable with their identities and want to be amputees." (Elliott) Not everyone who is uncomfortable with their identity is going to chop off an arm to treat it nor would any psychologist tell a person in anguish that he or she should leave the therapy room and throw their leg in a log splitter and see what happens. Why does this condition occur? It is known through interviews of people who experience this type of condition that the wish to become an amputee starts when he or she is much younger. Many people know they want to be amputated before the age of 6 or 7.
        What behavior we decide as normal or abnormal has been a debate since the beginning of conscious man. What one person considers normal may be considered highly abnormal to the next. The way to approach this problem is to allow each person to decide on the normal/abnormal issue for himself. Apotemnophiliacs, from the outside looking in are more than likely considered highly abnormal with many psychological problems. An observer would probably suggest a form of therapy with a psychologist or with medicine, but these people on the inside disagree. What others don't understand is, amputation is their cure for their mental anguish. They are convinced that nothing else can help them. This is the only way out of their problems. Sufferers of this condition will look at their condition as normal. This is why it depends on the source in the normal/abnormal debate.

Macionis, John J. Sociology. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River: Lehigh Press, 2001.
Elliott, C. "A New Way To Be Mad." The Atlantic Monthly. Dec 2000, 286, (6), 72-
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