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Author Topic: feel like I can't swallow....very upset....please help  (Read 24841 times)

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Offline itsjustme

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feel like I can't swallow....very upset....please help
« on: November 13, 2007, 08:16:49 PM »
Lately, when I eat, I start to swallow and it's like my swallow gets stuck and the food is just right there in my throat sitting still and I can't do anything. I go into panic mode. Now I'm scared to eat. I know this is completely anxiety and that's it. I know it's not some horrible disease or anything. But that still doesn't make me feel any better. I'm afraid anxiety is going to keep me from eating and I'll die or either I will try to eat and choke and die because I keep holding the food there inbetween and it's like my throat muscles get stuck and can't move.

I'm in graduate school. It's the end of the semester and I have tons of work due. I have to take the national boards exams this Saturday. I need to find a place to move to within the next month because I'm leaving for internship. I know that I'm definitely stressed, but I don't want this swallowing thing to develop into some kind of phobia thing that sticks around even when I'm not super stressed. Funny thing is....I'm a speech-language pathology grad student....I've studied all about the swallowing function and disorders...my internship is going to be in acute care, diagnosing swallowing disorders......how am I supposed to do this when I can't even swallow due to stupid anxiety?  :(
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Offline blondie

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Re: feel like I can't swallow....very upset....please help
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2007, 10:12:34 PM »
There is a term for this too, globus something or other. Have you seem a dr yet? Is it all the time or just when you are stressed? I jave the tightness in the throat. It is so hard not to notice these things :(
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Offline KingPaulos

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Re: feel like I can't swallow....very upset....please help
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2007, 11:11:21 PM »
I've had some issues with that anxiety... trying to swallow and lightly choke or am afraid, it's also about the FEAR you get from it that makes it harder to swallow sometimes, panic..
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sigh

Offline red

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Re: feel like I can't swallow....very upset....please help
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2007, 04:00:13 PM »
Its called "Globus Hysteracus" (Dont think that the correct spelling)  Your muscles in your neck become tense and they give you the impression that you have a lump in your throat which feels like you cant swallow or eat properly. Totally harmless yet very anoying!

The more you stress about it the worse it will become. Dont be frightened of it hun, its all  anxiety symptoms tricking you. If your fearful of it then as soon as your about to eat you will tense up before the food has even gone into your mouth. This will just make it all worse. I know its hard but try and listen to everyone who has writen to say they too have had it

Try and keep calm and i promise you it will go eventually.

Red  x
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Offline daisy7113

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Re: feel like I can't swallow....very upset....please help
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2007, 11:03:19 AM »
Hi! I have this right now too. It is awful! It is about the only anxiety symptom that will not leave me alone. Sometimes my food doe stop going down and then I swallow again and it goes. But, it is scary so I can sympathize. I just tell myself it is the anxiety. I have more of a problem with just regular swallowing of saliva more so than food. It is annoyin to no end. I hope it goes away. I have psoted many questions on here about it and everyone says the same thing, it is harmless and the anxiety.
Hang in there.
Oh, and I also have terrible muscle tightness which I think also contributes.
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Offline tam8226

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Re: feel like I can't swallow....very upset....please help
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2007, 09:04:36 AM »
Hi. I have this problem too! I've had a really tough year healthwise....I'm 38 years old. In April, I got a throat infection that wouldn't clear up with antibioticxs for three weeks. Then I had a gallbladder attack, at which time they removed it, but found lesions all over my liver (I've never drank a day in my life!). I was diagnosed through a biopsy with NASH....a progressive liver disease. After that, I was diagnosed with Mastocytosis....another chronic disease. Now, they've found nodules on my thyroid....My mom had cancer, so this could be a big deal. I'm now waiting to see if I need a biopsy for that. Anyway....I've had trouble swallowing since April. It started after the throat infection. I wondered if it was related, but the gastro and psych doctors told me it's "globus" - anxiety ridden. I'm having a barium swallow test on 12/5 to be sure there's nothing wrong with my throat. I take Neurontin, Lamictal, and Serax for anxiety/depression. The doctor wants me to take Pexeva also, but I'm afraid to take any more meds because of my liver. I'm not happy to hear you also have the swallowing problem, but I'm glad to know I'm not alone. After everything I've been through, I am depressed and anxious. Some days I'm not so bad....others, I don't even want to get out of bed. I have 5 and 7 year old daughters and can't sit around crying all the time (which I do).
Thanks for listening!
Tammi
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Offline lamy12

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Re: feel like I can't swallow....very upset....please help
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2007, 11:56:37 PM »
I get the lump in the throat feeling at times too.  It is really annoying and scary.  When it got really bad...I would feel like I couln't breathe at night when I was trying to go to sleep.  At times like that, I had to take an ativan or ambien to sleep because I was so upset over the feeling which in turn caused more anxiety.    As hard as it is, I had to learn to accept that it is anxiety and ignore it because it went away much quicker.  sorry you are going through this right now. lamy
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Offline itsjustme

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Re: feel like I can't swallow....very upset....please help
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2007, 08:35:03 PM »
Ugh, I'm still struggling with this.

It started the past couple months when I had to eat with my supervisor and one of her friends in this small room where I'm interning at. The room felt clausterphobic and quiet and thus felt like there was more attention on me. I already had an anxiety about eating because I was afraid my hands would shake and everyone would notice, so I'd only get things I could eat without having to use a utensil...I got pizza everyday. Well, anyways, then I started feeling like I couldn't swallow just when I was eating with them. I'd go home and eat fine. Well, then one night I was extremely anxious and I went to take the anti-depressant pill that I take everyday and absolutely could not swallow it. That got me very upset and very wound up and now very uptight about swallowing. So now, within that past week, I've had trouble swallowing food around anyone, even family and friends. Even eating by myself I still get tightened up because then I'm afraid that I'll choke while I'm alone and die. I've managed to eat pretty good meals still, but it's so awful being like this. I have to chew my food and then drink a lot of water to get my food done. I just keep tensing up at the second I'm about to swallow and then I feel like I stop mid-swallow. I'm afraid it's going to get worse and worse until the point I can't eat at all and then I'll die. I know that sounds dramatic, but I'm for real worried about that.

I know that I'm under a lot of stress now. My last semester of grad school is coming to an end so there's lots of projects due for that. I'm in the process of looking for a place to move. I also need to find a sublease for my place now. I'm starting an externship at a large hospital in January, that's the last thing I have to do before I graduate. I'm worried that I'll suck there. I'm nervous about being done with school forever and being in the real world. Me and my ex just tried to give it another chance because we had dated for five years and remained such good friends for three years after our break up. But then it turned out we just have the same problems still, so we gave it up for good, which is disheartening. Makes me afraid I'll never find anyone else to love me because everyone else will probably just think I'm a big weirdo. So yeah, lots of stress at the moment. Just needed to vent........ Please tell me what you think about the whole swallowing issues.
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Offline lamy12

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Re: feel like I can't swallow....very upset....please help
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2007, 03:51:20 PM »
Hi.  Well it obvioulsy sounds like you're under a lot of stress and that is contributing to the anxiety issues you are having.  Have you seen a therapist or have medications.  They can be very helpful.  Do all you can do to limit stresss.....exercise, eat right,etc.  Take a little time to pamper yourself...it helps.

The one thing I can tell you is to enjoy where you are in life.  I am on the other side...marriage, kids, full time job.  It is a lot of stress and I miss my freedom at times.  Also having marital issues.  So try to relax and enjoy yourself.  You are at a great place to learn about yourself, work on issues, and then you will be ready when you meet the right person.  Believe me, there is nothing worse than marrying the wrong person.  Have you ever read 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families? I would encourage you to read it before your next relationship.  good luck and keep posting. lamy
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Offline sasami

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Re: feel like I can't swallow....very upset....please help
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2007, 09:28:19 PM »
I'm sorry you're having this problem. I go through times when I have this fear, too. (It was actually the cause of my very first panic attack when I was 9 years old. Chloraseptic spray as well as another bad experience a few days later caused me to freak out and think I was choking. I did not eat food for an entire week and lost a lot of weight.)

I make sure to take small bites and chew my food thoroughly. Sometimes if I get scared I'll try talking to myself and remind myself that I wouldn't be able to speak out loud like that if I was actually choking. If I'm alone, I get really nervous about stuff so I might end up eating stuff just like rice, cereal, crackers, etc.

(When I went to the doctor's about this when I was 9 they recommended my parents put my food into a blender and I just eat it like that until I felt comfortable eating solid foods again.)
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Offline itsjustme

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Re: feel like I can't swallow....very upset....please help
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2007, 08:46:18 PM »
part of my anxiety is.......swallowing is an subconscious reflex, right?....I mean, for the most part....you can make yourself swallow, but when you're not thinking about it you still swallow and you don't have to think about making every muscle involved do its thing....well, now I'm afraid that, because I'm thinking about eating and swallowing that its not under subconscious control anymore and that I am now consciously in control of it & thus everything that needs to happen when I swallow (protective mechanisms coming into place & such) won't happen because I've turned it into not a reflex......does that make sense?......

someone say something to make me feel better  :winking0008:
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Offline atincher

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Re: feel like I can't swallow....very upset....please help
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2007, 09:03:26 PM »
I'm currently going through this too. Mine all started when I was out at lunch with co-workers and felt like I was choking...couldn't finish my meal that day, and from then on could not eat lunch at work.  I made up excuses like "oh I'm not hungry (knowing I was STARVING), or "oh I'm too busy, go ahead without me".  Then I started worrying that they thought I was mad at them and that's why I wasn't going with them, so now I used the "diet" excuse and pretty much just pick at my food so it looks like I'm eating.  We'll see how long that works...ANYWAYS... right after the first episode for about 1 week I could hardly eat anything that wasn't in liquid form...now its gradually gotten better and now it isn't a constant thing...I pretty much do ok when I'm alone, its still just eating out anywhere.  Its almost like I have to be in my "safe zone" in order to be able to eat.  Its so frustrating and I sympathize with you so much.  I wish I could tell you a miracle way to get over this, but all I can tell you from experience is that it will fade away a little bit each day if you just keep reminding yourself that swallowing is something your body does on its own...if food does get stuck in your throat there are ways of getting it out...so really, in all honesty WE WILL BE JUST FINE if only we keep trying to be positive and give up on the negative thoughts...which trust me, I know, is the hardest thing to do!   
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Offline sasami

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Re: feel like I can't swallow....very upset....please help
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2007, 02:39:59 AM »
part of my anxiety is.......swallowing is an subconscious reflex, right?....I mean, for the most part....you can make yourself swallow, but when you're not thinking about it you still swallow and you don't have to think about making every muscle involved do its thing....well, now I'm afraid that, because I'm thinking about eating and swallowing that its not under subconscious control anymore and that I am now consciously in control of it & thus everything that needs to happen when I swallow (protective mechanisms coming into place & such) won't happen because I've turned it into not a reflex......does that make sense?......

someone say something to make me feel better  :winking0008:

Well, I used to force myself to breathe all the time and I never died because my body "forgot" to do everything else. I dunno if that helps, but..

Quote
Its almost like I have to be in my "safe zone" in order to be able to eat.

I'm the same way.  :traurig001:
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Offline rua2j

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Re: feel like I can't swallow....very upset....please help
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2007, 11:31:53 AM »
My boss had a similar problem, thought it was an anxiety problem, but decided to go to a medical doctor anyway, turns out it WAS medically related. His throat had constricted to the point that he could only take very small bites of food without getting choked. The doc did something similar to angioplasty (sp). where they "balloon" a vein to open it up. They stretched his throat back open. He could eat and swallow just fine for a couple of years then they had to do it again, but it has helped him tremendously. The doc put him to sleep for just about 5 minutes, my boss did not remember anything and said he was only slightly sore after the procedure. Just something you might want to check out.
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Offline itsjustme

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Re: feel like I can't swallow....very upset....please help
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2007, 07:30:22 PM »
Oh no....I hope it's not a physical problem caused by some horrible disorder.  :(

I had it real bad then I completely got over it for about a week, now it's back again. I'm not actually choking or anything, just sitting there with food in my mouth afraid to swallow because I'm afraid I've forgotten how to swallow and so I won't do it right and so I'll choke. It's worse out in public or around people. Now sometimes I have to turn the tv off because I'm afraid a loud noise on tv will startle me while I eat and make me choke. But having everything absolutely quiet makes me focus on my swallowing more.

I'm afraid I'm going to get to the point where I can't eat at all and I'll die because of it. I know that sounds dramatic....but really.
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