It took two-and-a-half years of intense joint pain for Maddison O’Gradey Lee for doctors to take the teenager’s concerns seriously.
The pain was “agony”, Ms O’Gradey Lee, 18, said.
Her doctors said it was a byproduct of her anxiety disorder. “One doctor actually said, ‘It’s all in your head’,” she said.
Convinced she had fabricated her affliction, she worried she had wasted her family’s time and money on the consultations.
With the support of her mother, she finally had the scans to explain the pain – at 14 she had inflammation in her back and hip joints that was consistent with arthritis. The condition degenerates the joints with each year if not treated correctly.
“It could have such detrimental effects on a young person,” she said.
Ms O’Gradey Lee’s story is one of many where physical health is compromised because of a focus on mental health.
– Swetha Das