Sufferers of BIID are uncomfortable with a part of their body, such as a limb, and feel confident that removing or disabling this part of their body will relieve their discomfort. Sufferers may have intense feelings of envy toward amputees. They may pretend that they are an amputee, both in public and in private. Patients experience the above symptoms as being strange and unnatural. They may try to injure themselves to require the amputation of that limb. They are ashamed of their thoughts and may try to hide them from others, including therapists and health care professionals.
Most of BIID sufferers are white middle-aged males, although this discrepancy may not be nearly as significant as previously thought. Most commonly an above-the-knee amputation of the left leg is desired, but amputations may also involve the arms.