According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), 30 million people – including men and women of all ages – suffer from an eating disorder in the United States. It’s no wonder that the case of Mackenzie Hild – a woman who was unable to eat for five years – redefined how to diagnose and treat an eating disorder.
College student Mackenzie Hild was unable to eat without experiencing agonizing abdominal pain for over five years. Her weight plummeted, and all of her doctors came to the same conclusion: she was suffering from an eating disorder.
It was not until a fourth-year medical student took a chance to prove Hild was suffering from a physically-debilitating condition called MALS, which results in a restricted blood supply to the digestive organs. After surgery, Hild was able to eat again, for the first time in six years.
Remarkably, Hild led a successful life years before her final diagnosis. Even after the removal of her gallbladder and years of being fed through a tube, she thrived in school and traveled across the world despite being in immense pain. Jessica Gould – the fourth-year medical student that finally found Hild’s correct diagnosis – was impressed and even intimidated by Hild’s courageous and determined nature.
Hild continued to attend school, perform volunteer work, and even found the willpower to hang out with friends. Despite being unable to eat without a feeding tube, she was an overachiever, making it hard to believe she was sick at all.
Hild spent five years physically unable to eat, yet somehow managed to live an impressive existence, revealing how easy it can be to overlook a person’s sickness or disorder. Some people may hide behind a busy schedule or seemingly healthy fitness routine, making it hard to diagnose an eating disorder. If it wasn’t for a fourth-year medical student, Hild may have never been able to enjoy a meal again, despite years of the nation’s top doctors misdiagnosing her.
Not every condition is what it may seem – especially in the world of medicine – making it especially important to read between the lines and take the extra time to diagnose and properly treat mental as well as physical disorders.
Did you know an addiction can be caused by a mental disorder?
One of the primary reasons that mental disorders and substance abuse so often go hand-in-hand is that drugs and alcohol can provide an escape from the pressures of mental health problems. Self-medicating is surprisingly common: you’re not alone.
But unlike real, effective, long-term solutions, such as medication and detoxification in a treatment center, drugs and alcohol won’t amount to effective treatment.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from addiction, then take our free 3 minute assessment.