The difficulty swallowing or the feeling of a lump in the throat is definitely a sign of anxiety, but I would check it put to make sure that there is no underlying physical problem. As far as your phobia. I would contact a behavioral therapist. They specialize in getting you comfortable for small steps with each step leading to your ultimate goal of being able to drive without fear. A schedule is set up and once you are comfortable with a step you then progress to the next step until you are comfortable with driving. Remember you do not move on until you are comfortable with the previous step. The therapist, usually a psychologist, constructs a list of "successive approximations" and uses relaxation, imagery, etc to help you achieve each step until you are fear free of driving. Best wishes.
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Thanks for responding so quickly, but I have a few more questions. I do not generally have the feeling of an inability to swallow; it is just when I contemplate highway driving and/or driving on particular city streets (for some reason going down large hills bothers me). I have been to my GP and there doesn't appear to be any medical issue. Is this proceived inability to swallow in these circumstances related to agoraphobia? Is this truly how my anxiety is manifesting itself in these circumstances. I used to suffer from Panic attacks on a fairly regular basis, but since being on medication these have practically gone away. I still have the occassional attack (one every 6 months or more). The meds I am on are Paxil, Effexor and Attivan. Is there anything I can do while driving that could help. Is it even possible to stop swallowing if this is in effect a sign of my anxiety?
Thanks for your help, I look forward to your reponse ... Susan
The difficulty in swallowing is a sign of anxiety which is evoked by the fear of driving. So yes it is probably related to the agoraphobia and is one way your anxiety manifests itself. Swallowing is a reflex that you really have no control over. The important thing is to keep on driving as much as possible and although uncomfortable not allow the discomfort preclude you from driving.
Again, thanks for your prompt response. I just want to super clear on a couple ofthings.
When I feel as though I can't swallow when driving, is there a possibility that this could actually happen? or would my reflex's kick in and force my body to swallow.
Sometimes when I feel like I can't swallow, I get a bit lightheaded at the same time. I assume this is me hyperventelating a bit?
Am I in any danger when I feel either of these 2 things?
I am not a physician but I have never heard that one could lose the ability to swallow )not the feeling). You will swallow if the cause is psychological. It is like a roller coaster, It feels scary, but it isn't dangerous-so fear not and try to relax. Best wishes. LMHC