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Fear of Choking, Cannot Swallow

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Old 10-18-2007, 05:26 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Pontiac, MI
Posts: 1
RobFromMI30 HB User
Fear of Choking, Cannot Swallow

I am a 32 year old male who for the past 8 years or so have had a fear of choking. It started out with esophogitus. Food felt like it was getting stuck.When this kicked in, it was almost like my body forgot how to swallow solid food. It started out with me only eating watered down oatmeal, potatoes, ensure and slimfast. I went from 200lbs to 135lbs. My body was thin and weak and my hair was falling out. Slowly I was able to get back up to eating solids, but I would have to chew it up for a couple of minutes, then take a drink to swish it around to swallow. I had done this for years and lived normal although I was the slowest eater I knew. Well out of the blue about 2 weeks ago, this fear came back with force. I can barely eat anything, even sometimes have trouble swallowing liquids. I cannot eat in front of anyone from embarrassment. My partner said it looks painful. I feel like I am falling apart and I do not know who to talk to about this. I feel so alone and cannot imagine living out my life like this. I know I need to see my doctor, I guess I am just afraid of judgement. It would be nice to be able to talk to others who may have this same problem.

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Old 10-18-2007, 07:05 PM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Las vegas, NV, US
Posts: 8
Alexander84 HB User
Re: Fear of Choking, Cannot Swallow

hey rob, if it makes you feel any better i suffered from the same thing when i was younger. I felt like when i would go to swallow that my throat would just close up .. was horrible. My mom would get all ****** off etc. That was at like age 10-11. Im 23 now and have since gotten over that only to create more problems for myself. Im coming to the conclusiont that I have OCD in the form of intrusive thoughts. I think your main problem was the same as mine.. you go in anticipating that your not gonna be able to swallow to the point that it completly consumes you. Classic signs up Pure O .. ( thoughts etc not the rituals) especially if you've been doing it for 8 years.

Thing Is that i eventually got over that, so i know you can too trust me. You might wanna see a doctor though.. believe me they have heard worse haha.

Old 10-18-2007, 07:08 PM   #3
Pri Lily
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,096
Pri Lily HB User
Re: Fear of Choking, Cannot Swallow


I was put on Valium at age 16, because I kept on choking on food, and liquids as well.

My Doctor told me that my throat was "closing" because of anxiety.

The Valium did help, but I still have a choking fit every now and then. I live alone, and don't even worry about it. I know how to give myself the Heimlich manoeuvre.

Would it help to know that if you are in fact choking, you have time to call an ambulance, and probably get help before you even lose consciousness?

I know this sounds very is....anxiety isn't.


Old 12-01-2007, 12:31 PM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Montgomery, AL
Posts: 1
funnythatway HB User
Re: Fear of Choking, Cannot Swallow

It's so weird to hear someone else with my same exact problem. Thought I was just crazy. Bad news is - I've suffered with this for at least 15 years. It gets worse at some times that others - to the point I've just put myself on a forced liquid diet because trying to swallow food is just too much trouble - too hard, too embarassing. I too take way too long to eat because I think about every little bite, chew it to death, then drink water to help it go down. I don't dare try to eat something as intimidating as steak, thick meats, etc. I stick to soft vegis, and especially cereal with milk. I just have this fear of trying to swallow food and sometimes even liquids. That fear sometimes makes me actually choke up sometimes but I know its just the anticipation that makes my throat close up. I have been on anxiety meds for OCD and anxiety for years now. It makes it a little better but nothing like normal. I also have acid reflux terribly bad - I burp all day long. I also have breast cancer and am undergoing chemo, which seems to have made the swallowing problem worse, so my dr. referred me to have a barium swallow done this week and the dr. said the acid is coming up into my throat causing throat spasms throughout the day. So he put me on nexium. I don't know how long it will take to know if its working but I'm hopeful for some kind of improvement in the burping and maybe in the swallowing too.

Have you ever had a barium swallow test done?

Good luck - I know where you're coming from.

Old 12-05-2007, 10:48 PM   #5
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: antioch,ca
Posts: 3
stevenssinking HB User
Re: Fear of Choking, Cannot Swallow

I am sorry to hear that so many people are suffering from this,but its good to know I have empathy and support.
Starting a little over three years ago after I stopped drinking. I became more anxious than I ever was.And i do have a long history of
generalized anxiety.I've had several food aspirations.almost chocking to death on pills several times.I myslef chew for a very long long time before swallowing because Im anticipating what might happen.What has happened.What Im scared of happening.So for me it was definately a snow ball effect.Maybe there is something wrong with my swallowing reflux that IM not awar of though.Who knows.I am better now.But what I did and still do is mix my food with water.
Its a nightmare.Food is something that is to be appreciated and enjoyed,an afrodejiac or however you spell it...but with trouble swallowing eating turns into a chore,a night mare.Last year I was 250 pounds.Now I am 150.Skin and bones.But my weight loss is also related to airophagia and not being able to breaht through my nose.Point is I feal you,I know what its of luck to you.Some advice I got was like eating something that ignites your taste buds so much and is so enticing that it would impair your fear of swallowing.And texture of different kinds of food as we that suffer from this is something that has to be modified.I went on a b.r.a.t diet for a year I was so bad.Good luck.

Last edited by ms_mod; 12-06-2007 at 06:23 AM. Reason: Read all of the "Sticky" posts at the top of this board as to why part of your post was removed. Ms_Mod

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