Phagophobia, Fear Of Swallowing


There are people for whom eating any solid food can become a distressing moment, and not because they reject the food itself, but because, when they have to swallow it, they feel a great fear of swallowing and of choking from choking on the food. This fear is usually persistent and totally unjustified, resulting in what is known as phagophobia or fear of swallowing.

The appearance of this fear is also linked to taking medications in pills or dragees, which can make it difficult for those who suffer from this phobia to follow medical treatment correctly.

It has a psychological origin

The difficulty swallowing is totally psychological, since when patients go to the ENT doctor and he examines their esophagus, does not find anything abnormal that could justify said difficulty swallowing. However, this does not eliminate the fear of patients, who can suffer great malnutrition due to fear of eating, even going so far as to ingest only liquid or easy-to-swallow foods after having thoroughly chewed them to avoid choking.

It could be dangerous

However, their behavior is not gratuitous, since the fear of swallowing is given by the sensation that the patient has that his throat is narrowing when they are going to swallow, which translates into the fear that the food will get stuck in the esophagus or even pass into the respiratory system and cause death by suffocation.

Causes of phagophobia

Usually This phobia is associated with:

  • Choking experiences.
  • Situations of great anxiety.
  • Panic attacks.

Which cause the sensation of narrowing of the throat and difficulty eating. Therefore, one of the main ways to treat this condition is to get patients to relax to help swallowing, as well as relaxation exercises for the muscles of the face or diverting attention when chewing or swallowing.

This article is merely informative, at PsychologyFor we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

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