Phobia Of Choking

Hi! I'm 18 and new here and for my whole life...I have been terrified to take pills. Every time I try I have had the feeling like my throat was tight (which ends up hurting) and I couldn't breathe. I would end up spitting the pill out and start having bad anxiety and end up crying because I felt pathetic for not being able to do it. Then my mom would yell at me for being a baby which then I get even more anxiety. I'm scared my health is in danger. The fall of 2016, my junior year, I noticed my throat was tight at a football game (because I'm in marching band), I thought it was normal for me since this happens when I'm anxious. And I was hungry so I went to get some food and when a came back to the band bleachers....I noticed I couldn't swallow my chili that I bought...I started to panic and so I tired drinking my Powerade and I couldn't swallow my Powerade either. After that, I ran into the restroom...and I began having an anxiety attack...I was terrified. I came back and my friends noticed something was wrong...but I never told anyone besides them until it started lasting for weeks. I was unable to eat food without gagging. So my diet was all liquid food....I ended up by the end of November losing 20 pounds and I was depressed and very weak. I always felt like passing out during band practice. I went to urgent care and they said it was GERD. Which it wasn't. But then I went to ENT and they said there was no physical problem, that it was probably just stress or anxiety. After that visit...I continued to try to eat even though my throat was tight....I ended up getting back to eating, sorta normally. I avoid some foods that I have trouble swallowing. I lost a friend because of this incident. But it is crazy how anxiety can ruin your life. Also because I was on a liquid diet....I did have a fear of constipation (I have always had trouble with it and a lot of bad experiences with it), I ended up drinking laxatives. I did use laxatives after being on a liquid diet before this whole thing happened because I got my wisdom teeth taken out and for two weeks was on a soft food diet so didn't have many stools. Sorry this is gross. Now that I recovered mostly from the dysphagia I had...afterwards I discovered, not too long, that I had another problem.

That I wasn't having my regular bowel movements. I was constantly having cramps and bloating. I have been struggling for a year with this. Sure when I was a kid it was bad and constant. Now, I think I might have IBS-C. Why am I telling you this? Because I have to go to a doctor soon and they will either say it's anxiety or prescribe pills that I can't take. I try my best to avoid the doctor and taking pills. I hate even the thought. I'm willing to get help for my anxiety and depression but I'll be given pills for my mental health and for my condition with IBS-C. I can't stand having another anxiety attack happen because I'm so scared of choking or feeling tight throat and throwing up. I seriously am done and feel like I have no control any more and these laxatives are taking a toll on my health. Causing me to feel dizziness and nausea sometimes. Is there anyone else who has this kind of anxiety? Please tell me, I'm not alone.

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23 Replies

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  • Hi MM6789, There are many people who cannot swallow pills for whatever reason. Once you experience a choking episode, it just tends to grow into a phobia. Getting yelled at for not being able to take a pill just makes the muscles in the throat tighter. Switching to a liquid diet or soft foods is taking the pleasure out of your life. As well as now causing more constipation issues.

    Avoiding going to your doctor because of the pill issue you have is not wise. Taking laxatives frequently will also cause other health issues down the road. There are other ways around your fear of swallowing pills. Many medications now come in Gummy Form as well as liquid. Some medications (with authorization from a Pharmacist) can be split in two or actually crushed.

    Putting the medication in a tablespoon of Applesauce or Jelly will make it slide down easily. Your health is most important. I hope you find some therapy resources to also help you with this phobia. My best. x

  • Yes, I agree with Agora who always has awesome helpful tips by the way.

    I just wanted to add that some anxiety medications such as clonazepam and other psych meds are now available in under the tongue dissolvable form.

  • violetgenie, I didn't know that. Thanks for sharing that info. x

  • I looked it up and the terminology is called sublingual / orally disintegrating. If you could possibly digest medicine without swallowing at all, perhaps you might be able to get some relief from the phobia.

  • Like sniff it up? ๐Ÿ˜‚

  • Yeah watch my doctor not give me that kind. Nope you can just choke on this inch high and two inch width pill.

  • You are funny!!! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

  • I've tried jelly and pudding and yogurt and applesauce nothing works.

  • That's okay. There's something that will work for everybody. Knowing that this is a psychological issue and not physical is the first thing to be aware of. Maybe a little harder to accept. Once you find a way to get that first pill down, the fear will go away and the next one will go down much easier in that the muscles will relax and the mental barrier will be gone.

    Looking into the sublingual pill may be a way for you to go. Your doctor should be able to come up with something to help you. Shots, IV's, patches, a little impractical but can be done. Whatever method is used, you are going to have to let go of your fear...

  • Yes, and once you are able to surmount the swallowing issue, I am betting your digestion will improve with balanced eating. Did I already say that? Sorry if I am repeating myself.

  • I really can't swallow them. I kinda to the point where I don't care about pill crushing. With painkillers I chew them which is nasty but it helps out. When I have to take any medication the hard one I'll crush. Now the only one I can't crush is the hard gel pills. But I'm sure I can stab the medicine out and put it in my water and then drink it. Yeah some meds say don't do it. Cuz it works slower if you do but I don't care. I'm not going to dear if an anxiety attack or choking. I wonder where I can find a pill crusher at in Walmart?

  • Not dear, i meant to say dead.

  • *die

  • Yes there should be a pill crusher at Walmart, more likely CVS or Walgreens will actually have them in stock. The pharmacy counter will know where they are. They'll be with those daily pill storage containers and things like that.

  • Please note this is something I learned in my first responder course. Some pills are slow release aka have a microfilm coating them making it slowly dissolve in your stomach slowly releasing the medicine. If you crush these or chew them and they are designed to be slow release you are risking overdosing yourself. Do not crush or chew pills without asking your doctor first!

  • Ahh biker thank you!

  • No problem! I come out of the darkness to save the day.... that was weird! lol

    Being more serious though, I cant do tablets, not one bit. 9 times out of 10 there is a liquid or melt alternative to it. If there is not then usually that tablet is safe to crush.

  • You sure they would give me a liquid or meltable form? I'm a little scared to ask cuz then they'll think of me as less of an adult or take me seriouslyever again. And cuz I have this issue, do you think I could still become a nurse and dietitian when I get older? Or would I be a bad example to my patients. Cuz I was thinking about going into the medical field. My mom told me she knows a doctor who has fear of germs. So anything is possible,right?

  • I ment to say or they will never take me serious again.

  • Hi MM6789, No one would ever think less of you for asking for liquid or meltable form of medication.

    I think that's wonderful that you want to enter the medical profession when older. You would be a very caring and supportive care giver to patients who like yourself have trouble swallowing or taking medication. Anything is possible. Believe in yourself. x

  • Thanks so much for being patient with me and making me understand stuff better. Thanks for your time too! Have a nice Sunday!

  • No they won't think your less of an adult at all! Its a common thing people not being able to take tablets.

    Regarding becoming a nurse or a dietician, I don't see why you can't. You just got to focus on yourself first. I was training to be a pilot in the Royal Air Force but when I had my accident and got diagnosed with PTSD I had to stop training and put it on hold. Doesn't mean I can't become a pilot, just means I got to to focus on my mental/physical health first rather than my training.

    Same for you, focus on your wellbeing for now, with treatment I don't see why there would be anything stopping you from becoming what you want.

  • and just an example.. my manager at work is ex SAS (Special air Service) and did multiple tours. Ended up getting very very bad PTSD. Didn't even want to leave the house. Now he is a manager in the security/policing field and very successful. Just he had to focus on his mental health before anything else.

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