phantom flesh

Are you searching for ways to explain the distorted body image that characterizes most eating disorders?

I like to bring up the phenomenon of phantom extra limbs.

I think it is hard for people to understand that the patient is not exaggerating or overvaluing body size and appearance - though it may sound like the same stuff all of us say and do. I believe the experience of BDD - which seems to occur in many ED patients especially while malnourished - is similar if not the same as phantom extra limbs. And while some people experience this phantom flesh in a delusional way (can not see that it is an illusion) many people struggle to reconcile what they know is not real with what they truly see and feel.

Need further proof that brain function can cause thoughts and behaviors that have nothing to do with free will or experience? How about "gourmand syndrome."


  1. Have you seen the article in the latest Newsweek about people amputating parts of their body because they feel as tho it 'doesn't belong' and then telling family members they'd been in an accident? Some are electing to undergo surgery and have a real amputation to 'get rid of' the offending limb. This actually seems to help and has been deemed a right hemisphere problem by doctors.Amazing! How might this be linked to body dysmorphic disorder and also to the feeling of being fat even when one is actually starving to death?

  2. I hadn't seen that. Fascinating. We have so much to learn about the brain!


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