What do I do?? Help

jimmy75

Well-known member
#1
I'm really feeling bad at the moment. For the past week I've had an intense fear of choking on food which means I've been chewing food hundreds of times so I can swallow it. I dread eating each day and feel relieved that I've got it out of the way. But then I realise that I've got to eat the next day, and the day after that...basically for the rest of my life.

This means that every day of my life I'll feel the fear of death just eating food. This is really ruining my life. I've given up eating solids and now only eat ice cream and soup. I'm scared of drinking liquids too because I'm worried I'll choke on them. I told my doctor about this and he just said the usual stuff "Stop worrying, you'll be fine."

So, what do I do and how do I get rid of this fear?
 
#2
I can understand this, I get similar fears about choking, but not constantly. Like most fears, the thing to do is to learn about the problem - so that you have more realistic thoughts - and then to challenge the fear with action. So, read up on the body's natural response to choking as well as first aid procedures; maybe there is a procedure for dealing with choking if alone? - then, armed with that knowledge, start to eat properly again and make mental notes of how often, if at all, you come close to choking. Keep it up until the fear subsides
 

jimmy75

Well-known member
#3
I can understand this, I get similar fears about choking, but not constantly. Like most fears, the thing to do is to learn about the problem - so that you have more realistic thoughts - and then to challenge the fear with action. So, read up on the body's natural response to choking as well as first aid procedures; maybe there is a procedure for dealing with choking if alone? - then, armed with that knowledge, start to eat properly again and make mental notes of how often, if at all, you come close to choking. Keep it up until the fear subsides
I just have the feeling that the fear will never subside, and obviously if this is the case then I will have a miserable life.
 
#6
Hey jimmy.

I am so sorry you are going through this. It reminds me of the fear of swallowing pills. As a kid, I was scared to death to swallow even the smallest of pills. But I had started swallowing so many pills by age 15 that it just didn't matter anymore. Maybe you should work your way up to swallowing solids. You know, do some soup but you have to push yourself to the solids little by little.

Maybe you need to talk to a behaviourist about overcoming this fear.
 

jimmy75

Well-known member
#7
Hey jimmy.

I am so sorry you are going through this. It reminds me of the fear of swallowing pills. As a kid, I was scared to death to swallow even the smallest of pills. But I had started swallowing so many pills by age 15 that it just didn't matter anymore. Maybe you should work your way up to swallowing solids. You know, do some soup but you have to push yourself to the solids little by little.

Maybe you need to talk to a behaviourist about overcoming this fear.
I tried talking to my dad about this since he's a psychology professor and usually settles all my anxious thoughts. He told me about a psychological technique he once used on one of his patients called flooding. Where you expose yourself to as much of the negative stimuli as possible until the fear goes. I'm going to try this and see if It works.
 

fate12321

Well-known member
#8
Hey jimmy.

I am so sorry you are going through this. It reminds me of the fear of swallowing pills. As a kid, I was scared to death to swallow even the smallest of pills. But I had started swallowing so many pills by age 15 that it just didn't matter anymore. Maybe you should work your way up to swallowing solids. You know, do some soup but you have to push yourself to the solids little by little.

Maybe you need to talk to a behaviourist about overcoming this fear.
Yeah I had the same phobia as well. Never liked swallowing pills because it felt strange. I ended up overcoming my fear by doing the same thing you did by just getting use to it. So I'm guessing if you just try to swallow food without thinking about it, it might help.
 
#9
I tried talking to my dad about this since he's a psychology professor and usually settles all my anxious thoughts. He told me about a psychological technique he once used on one of his patients called flooding. Where you expose yourself to as much of the negative stimuli as possible until the fear goes. I'm going to try this and see if It works.
I really think this flooding technique works. Its like the more exposed you get to things, the more used to it you get. It works with being around people too. Seems like the more I am around people, the less powerful S.A./social phobia becomes for me. Give it a shot, jimmy! You can do it! :) I believe in you! ;-)

Yeah I had the same phobia as well. Never liked swallowing pills because it felt strange. I ended up overcoming my fear by doing the same thing you did by just getting use to it. So I'm guessing if you just try to swallow food without thinking about it, it might help.
Yes. I believe you just have to get used to swallowing. Make it second nature.
 
#10
I agree with kihira that equipping yourself with information is a good route. And I feel its true we do fear the unknown.

I hope this us helpful. My source is that I studied anatomy and physiology previously.
Re: the swallow mechanism, specifically the epiglottis.
The movement of the tongue and teeth is voluntary but as the food travels into the oesophogus a number of things happen which are involuntary. The brain and muscles co ordinate the process between them without any voluntary input. The epiglottis seals off the windpipe. This means food can not enter into the windpipe. It happens automatically as part of the swallow mechanism. Watch in this video below how the epiglottis seals the windpipe as the food goes down.

Swallowing (deglutition) from Anatomy & Physiology Online - YouTube

The only reasons why it might be possible for people to choke are: talking and laughing while eating ( you can see why , conflicting signals there, engaging your windpipe for talking and laughing while the epiglottis tries to close over to swallow - but even still, choking would be highly unusual) drug and alcohol abuse and diseases like parkinsons.


I hope this makes the process less worrying for you :)
 
#11
I'm sorry you are experiencing this. I don't know if this helps any but a few years ago after I was assaulted by my boss I would only eat ice cream for MONTHS. All my doctors felt it was just some quirky glitches I developed as a coping mechanism. About a year later, I joined a group. There was only 4 or 5 people in it but one other lady had a similar situation! She lived with this fear of food/chocking for over 30 years! Recently, I was visiting a family member in a VA hospital discussing this with family when a medical staff mentioned it could be related to PTSD. This story may not help you in anyway but hopefully it makes you realize you are being thought of. I wish you the best. (Ps-my diet has expanded past ice cream but it isn't anything like it used to be)
 
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