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  1. #1

    Please help. Swallowing/anxiety

    Hey everyone.

    I have anxiety and have developed a fear of swallowing, which makes me hesitate in the phase right before the food goes into the esophagus (which is also the stage where I can't bring the food back up. So call it the point of no return). I am able to initiate the swallow normally, its just the above stage that sends me into a shock.

    It always ends up going down correctly eventually, but I fear that this panic and hesitation can make the food go into my windpipe.

    If I can be convinced that the panic/hesitation won't cause the food to go down the wrong pipe then I will be able to eat again.

    Can someone please confirm whether my theory and fear is irrational or whether I should worry about the panic.

    I know that there isn't anything physical going on because when I am not thinking about it I am able to swallow normally. I can also drink water very easily which is why I know it is psychological.

    I will be most grateful. Please convince me!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2017

    Re: Please help. Swallowing/anxiety


    I really relate to the whole swallowing issue as I have only just recently improved it.

    It is defo a psychological thing and honestly my best advice which sounds a little simple is to not force a swallow.

    When you are finished chewing you can sort of sense and feel it when you're ready to swallow right? I used to override that, and try to swallow myself or chew more which leads to it feeling odd going down but that's it.

    When you are ready to swallow my best advice is to let the mechanism just happen as it feels much more better and you would not swallow if you couldn't.

    You could try putting something in your mouth and holding it there, it gets you use to the feeling and helps you see that because you haven't chewed your mind is not telling you to swallow, you could try it with a skittle or something small or even a tablet if you take any as that won't matter if you swallow it whole.

    Food has never gone into my windpipe, sometimes when it slips down it just goes a little slow, but I think you'd have to be breathing at the same time to make a difference x

    Best wishes
    - Laine

    "Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn."

    "Be gentle with yourself, you're doing the best you can"

  3. #3

    Re: Please help. Swallowing/anxiety

    Thank you for your tips, it's strange because for me the slower I do it the more I think about it and tbe worse it becomes.

    Did you used to get the same panic/hesitation ?

    It's horrible.

    If I know that the panic cannot cause the food to go down the wrong pipe then I'll be cured instantly.

    Thanks again for your advice

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2017

    Re: Please help. Swallowing/anxiety

    I am a speech therapist and I can tell you that panic will not make your food go down the wrong way, unless maybe you are eating or drinking while having an active panic attack with hyperventilation. Your body has a safeguard against food or liquids getting in the airway and it’s called the epiglottis. The epiglottis closes over your airway when you swallow. We’ve all had those feelings before where maybe it felt like something went “down the wrong pipe”. The second mechanism that we have for protection against aspiration (food/liquids getting into lungs) is coughing. Whenever you penetrate food or liquid past the epiglottis, we cough and can usally clear anything that got past. But if for some crazy reason food particles or liquids do get into the lung, the chances of a otherwise healthy person having any issues is unlikely.

  5. #5

    Re: Please help. Swallowing/anxiety

    Hi AnxiousJamie

    Thank you for the reassurance, I've sent you a private message

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Re: Please help. Swallowing/anxiety

    I am pretty clumsy, is it clumbsy or clumsy I can never remember that which is ironic! Anyway, all my life I would on average twenty five times a week send something down my throat the wrong way in epic fashion and hack up my lungs trying to correct the mistake, I finally took a stand a couple years back and learned to take a breath beforehand when stuffing food or drink down, it's cut accidents by a third!
    '' utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium - the bitter lapse into everyday life, the hideous dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart, an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime.''

  7. #7

    Re: Please help. Swallowing/anxiety

    I think that those guys suffering from bulimia would tell you that there's literally nothing to worry about Hope that my a little bit grim humor helps.

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