This study investigates self-injury from the perspective of patients with anorexia nervosa.DESIGN AND METHODS:
A phenomenological design was used. Twelve patients participated. Data were collected using a semi-structured interview guide.FINDINGS:
Participants display self-injurious behavior predominantly in situations when they are forced to eat. They are terrified of gaining weight and use self-injurious behavior to cope with their anxiety. Self-injury is envisioned as a technique to regain control of their own eating pattern without bothering anyone. They feel shame for not controlling their emotions more constructively.PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:
Healthcare professionals should systematically observe signals and explore less harmful strategies that help to regulate overwhelming feelings.