Swallowing OCD: Hello, (note that I just... - My OCD Community

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Swallowing OCD

tomjoney profile image


(note that I just turned 16 so please dont delete this)

I appreciate any sort of reply - I have posted on 6 forums so far and have received little to nothing - so if you can offer anything please tell me.

For the past 3 months or so, I've developed swallowing sensorimotor (somatic ocd). Basically this means I've been extremely hyperaware of the act of swallowing which is usually subconscious. This is all day every second of the day, saliva starts developing in my mouth and this forces me to swallow it every 10-15 seconds.

(I have been recommended to hold 'in' the saliva for as long as possible - although I cannot do this as I get an 'urge' to swallow in my throat - which can actually get pretty bad to experience.)

My main problem is that I've been receiving mixed messages: some people say not to swallow while others say to swallow whenever you feel you need to. I tend to agree that swallowing is not a compulsion as you cannot really 'hold in' any swallows. Again, I need an extra viewpoint on this.

Because of this, life has become 24/7 torment and torture for me. At times I have felt disabled also. I am stuck in a dark abyss and I am unsure how to get out. I have been unable to pursue any of my hobbies. I am suffering from chronic insomnia during the night because of this somatic OCD.

I have tried to accept the swallowing although this is becoming increasingly difficult for me to do so. During the past week or so the anxiety and torment has become increasingly worse and I am utterly confused as to what to do.

School is about to start and this problem has absolutely slashed my grades and if I do not get the help I need it will probably be like this this semester.

I don't know what to do, I know I need to actively try and get out of this darkness but I am unsure how as everything I have tried has almost always ultimately failed. Just getting one solid night of sleep would be a dream for me...

If anyone has any sort of feedback or would want to talk to me more in regards to this please reply to this post.

I just want my life back... I am confused as to what to do next. But I will work to death to get this under control but I just don't know what to do.



19 Replies

I have been in the place you are right now and still sometimes go back to that dark place , so I can relate to how your feeling !My ocd gives me days from the depths of hell.

There are a lot of people on this site who have amazing knowledge of ocd .

so I’m sure by the time I read this again you’ll have some knowledgeable replies !

Stay strong try and power through this !

My only advice would be to contact your doctor or book to see a qualified cbt therapist for your ocd , and if your not sleeping at all maybe ask for some expert help from your doctor

I know you’ll feel a lot better once you’ve seen the right people

It’s taken me months to progress but I have days where I feel like I’m back at the beginning so you ain’t alone buddy

In the meanwhile try YouTube or some self help on the internet , I know you just want it to go away but this is the start and you’ll be on your way to recovery

We are all here for you


tomjoney profile image
tomjoney in reply to Maximuz

Thank you man. Someone recommended I speak to my school counsellor so I will do that.

Maximuz profile image
Maximuz in reply to tomjoney

Yeah mate maybe inform your parents about it , I know it’s embarrassing but told mine from a young age and it helped a lot You don’t feel as alone if you know what I mean?.

Really sounds like you definitely need to see a therapist to address this type of ocd . OCD is a bully in your head and the first step of fighting it is by speaking out to a close friend or family , it’s scary at first and embarrassing but you’ll really be glad you did when you look back .

Keeps us updated on how you go on


Hi! I experience this sometimes too with both swallowing and breathing. What helps with the swallowing is I say to myself “it’s ok Sara, you can swallow. Your body knows how without choking.”

You’re going to be ok. Remember-OCD is your body and minds response to a perceived danger and the need for certainty. But with our bodies, we can be certain that it knows what to do without us having to do anything. Try saying out loud “this feels scary right now and my body knows how to swallow just fine without my having to think about it.” You can do this. We are all here for you.

This is such a nice example of comforting self talk.

Appreciate this.

Talk to your doctor ASAP and find a therapist trained in CBT and OCD as well, especially if you don't have one. My 13yo son was just hospitalized for the severity of his OCD regarding germaphobia and contamination fears and this is a struggle. Reach out to any family and friends for help, but your school should also be made aware of your issues. Hypnotherapy can also be very helpful, as well as Neurofeedback. Good luck to you, truly. This sounds difficult to handle.

Hi TomI agree completely with what everyone has replied with here so far.

And I suffer from similar issues also. Some swallowing and definitely the breathing issues mentioned in one post.

When I was in 7th grade, I was really suffering with OCD , and it was definitely scary. I remember my dad just showing up at school one day to pick me up early, without me knowing what for .

He was taking me to a psychiatrist .

I remember being so scared and hurt at same time because I had no one talk to me about it initially, and to just show up like that made it worse for me.

I clammed up and wouldn’t talk after that. My dad was furious at me.

He meant well, and I’m sure my parents were a little scared too at the moment. But they didn’t understand or take the time too . Back then OCD was not nearly as well known or discussed as today.

The reason I told you this , is because I know exactly how you feel right now. And the replies earlier are correct. You are not alone my friend. We’re all here for you always.

The other reason I told the story is because you are a big step ahead of where I was . You’re smart enough to realize OCD is causing so much hurt and that you need help , and you’re willing to ask for it.

That’s a major step right there for you. And i am hoping you will talk to your parents up front about the reality of all the symptoms you’re hurting from. Please don’t wait to ask for professional help , or to talk to your parents and give them “all” the details you can manage to give them so they truly see what you’re feeling as much as they possibly can . Because you are just 16 and I know you can work to obtain a manageable life . With help and determination it can be better, and it’s so much better when you’re not trying to deal with it alone. Trust me buddy.

I also understand the school situation. I couldn’t even do my schoolwork at times because I would erase what I wrote on my papers and rewrite again. I’d do this over and over til I wore holes in my paper. I can’t imagine what my teachers thought.

I’d also have a severe extended moment with OCD while I tried to play a full court basketball game during lunch, and I’d stop in middle of the court and close my eyes , and go through all the thoughts Obsessions and Compulsions right there in middle of the court with all the students in gym seeing me. Man was I scared and yeah they teased me badly from it.

So I completely understand how you’re worried about school and why.

But I want you to know times have changed and there are a lot more strangers and friends who will understand you and support you nowadays . True friends are the ones who stick by you and don’t judge you. Just remember that the more honest you are with them up front (even how difficult it can be), I think you will find them more honest and willing to be there for you too through all of this. And I think it’s a great idea that you’re talking to your school counselor too so they can watch over you and help you through those tough days.

You got this bud. Sometimes it will stay difficult, but the days will get better with time and help.

Stay strong

Appreciate this!

You’re very welcome buddy. We’re have to all stick together. I’m glad to hear from you. How are things today ?

Nothing has really improved or worsened. I did contact my school counsellor though.

That’s a start by contacting counselor. The counselor can help you navigate some of those days. We’re all here for you . You’re not alone and we’re in this together.

Please try talking to your parents and let me know how that goes if you don’t mind . I’m here for you

Thank you for the advice on talking to my parents. Hope the counsellor will be some help.

You’re very welcome my friend

I have had short periods where the swallow thing happens to me as well. However it appears to be much worse for sure for you.

I would agree with the others who suggest finding an OCD therapist that can help you. It is entirely possible that he/she will be able to offer tips that can help you in a short time. Please be sure however they they Do ERP and are educated completely in OCD. on the iocdf.org site there is a page where you can find a qualified therapist in your area. On the home page click on "Find Help" and you will be able to put in your zip code to find one.

Please do it today so you can find help before school starts. You need your sleep to have a clear head.

Good luck to you.

Tom,I don't have any new info to add to what has been said. I'm a mom, my son was diagnosed with OCD when he was 7, he has had many 'types' or 'themes' of OCD over the years. When he the time CBT therapy was recommended, and while it helped a bit, nothing has helped nearly as much as ERP therapy from a psychologist that specialized in that. If you haven't already, I would suggest talking to your parents, school councilor etc. The IOCD

website is a great resource for whoever you choose! They will want to help you, and you are so worth it!!

Also a bit of encouragement- my husband and I honestly thought my son would never live a full, happy, life. We thought he may live at home and be on disability, as he could truly not function well enough to care for himself. Not that there is anything wrong with that at all, we would have accepted that. Sometimes those are absolutely the right and only choices and nothing to be ashamed of!! However fast forward 5 years, although he still has OCD and always will( he still hits some really rough days), he copes well enough that he is getting ready to move several hundred miles away and start a job and a life that he has always wanted! OCD is no longer the center of his life!

Your struggle is real, but worth the effort to get ERP and enjoy the life you want!!

Thank you... My biggest fear though right now is that my body is stuck and that ERP won't work - that's probably just an intrusive thought though. I did reach out to a school counsellor. Cheers,

Hi Tomjoney, I'm new to working on ocd, so I'm sorry I don't have any advice to give, but my heart goes out to you for how you're struggling right now. There is a lot of wisdom in this thread so I hope that helps you feel you're not alone in this. Take care.

Thank you.

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