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Author Topic: Eating Swallowing Trouble  (Read 505 times)

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Offline GulfCoast1

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Eating Swallowing Trouble
« on: May 10, 2014, 07:15:47 PM »

In case you don't feel like reading the entire post, the bottom line is I am having trouble eating and it is probably due to anxiety and fear.  I don't have too much trouble in the morning, but lately at lunch and especially dinner I chew and chew and don't really feel like swallowing.  I feel like I might gag, and certain foods (like meats) scare me more than others.  I'm embarrassed by how long it takes me to eat and I'm starting to feel impatient with it, which no doubt worsens the situation.  And of course, I start worrying about eating before I ever do.

The full story:

I've wrestled with a fear of choking since I was in high school, but have always been able to control it.  About two years ago, I felt like I had a piece of apple stuck in my throat (even though I could breathe fine) and I took myself to the emergency room, and of course nothing was wrong.  The same thing happened about six months after that.  In between these episodes I was jumpy (scared by loud noises or sudden movements) and had a few near panic attacks.

After the second episode, I began to have trouble eating (and have to varying degrees ever since).  I felt like everything I ate was getting stuck in my throat or was slow moving down.  In truth, I did have some very bad eating habits (late at night) and was taking fish oil (the big pill terrified me) which can actually increase reflux.

I started being treated for reflux and improved quite a bit.  Then, some stressful things happened (uncle died, business got flooded, girl cheated on me) and I began to feel again like stuff was getting stuck in my throat, and every night I had a big bubble of air in my throat.  I started self-medicating at night with alcohol in order to be able to get my meal down.

My doctor (nurse practitioner) asked me if I had ever been told I had anxiety or been treated for anxiety and I said I had.  She put me on Xanax, four times a day.   This probably was not medically sound, but I was able to eat again.  Only, I couldn't eat without it...

A couple of months later I decided to get off it, basically going cold turkey (dangerous) and I couldn't hardly eat at all.  I lost 25 lbs. and my new girlfriend.  I started taking Librax, then remeron, and amitryptiline and slowly got back to where I was probably 80 percent again and regained the weight.

That was just over a year ago, and now all of a sudden I'm flaring up again.  I don't really feel like anything is getting stuck in my throat, but I'm afraid of certain foods, and like I said, I chew and chew and can't swallow, and I'm afraid almost every time I go to eat.  And, I'm nervous of social situations where I have to eat with others.

I've just started therapy again, and I haven't taken anything for stress in over a year.  I don't want to rely on taking something to help me eat. 

I've read many similar accounts on these types of forums.  Thoughts?
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Offline Lola85

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Re: Eating Swallowing Trouble
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2014, 05:58:48 PM »

I read your post after searching for sowing difficulties and mine is a very similar story. I too choked on an apple when I was at school and this led to me being anxious around food and scared to swallow in case of choking. Like you I have suffered over the years to a varying degree but am now at my worst. The trigger for me was i changed job and my gran died and all of a sudden i was filled with anxiety and I was struggling to eat pretty much everything. Now it's in my head again and I'm obsessed with swallowing, I overthink it so much that I tense up and cant do it. It's a complete nightmare. It's so frustrating being so hungry and wanting to eat but being scared too. Have you tried anything else apart from medication? I tried CBT and various other things but I never seem to be completely free from it.
  It sounds like you've had a lot to deal with lately do its understandable that you've been feeling stressed/anxious and that in turn makes swallowing so much harder. I used to be ok when I was at home and felt relaxed, as long as I had a drink and could sit in front if tv to distract myself. Now that doesn't even work. Do you sometimes feel like your swallowing reflex isn't working? Are you thinking about swallowing everytime you go to eat? Are there foods that your more comfortable eating?
  Sorry I'm not much help but I did want to reply to your message as I'm going through the same thing and its awful. I'd give anything to be able to eat normally again. Anyway take care and don't give up! Laura
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