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Objective: To explore young adults' views regarding: the inpatient treatment they received for anorexia nervosa during their adolescences; their experiences of discharge; and the impact their admission had on issues of control and low self-esteem. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven young adults treated in general adolescent psychiatric units. Data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Results: Four super-ordinate themes emerged from participants' accounts: (1) Removal from normality versus connecting with the outside world; (2) Treated as another anorexic versus a unique individual in distress; (3) Control and collaboration; (4) The importance of peer relationships. Discussion: Findings unique to this study concerned a sense of feeling removed and disconnected from 'normality'; a feeling that one's developmental needs were not always addressed; and the importance placed on supportive relationships with fellow patients. It was also found that authoritarian approaches may compound patients' feelings of ineffectiveness, worthlessness and isolation. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

Original publication




Journal article


European Eating Disorders Review

Publication Date





377 - 387