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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Do you think not being able to swallow sometimes is related

Resolved Question:

Do you think not being able to swallow sometimes is related to something in my past?I have lost 13 pounds but not losing lately. Been drinking ensure and v8 cause I cant eat sometimes. I can always eat breakfast but after that I cant sometimes. I have been to doctor but he sent me to phychiatrist
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

I need a bit more information so I can give you the best answer possible.

When did this problem start?

Have you ever had it before?

Do you have any other symptoms?

Do you have some type of abuse in your past that you think would affect you in this way?



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I had a bad tragedy 26 years ago. My nine year old daughter died in a house fire. I have had a problem thorugh the years swallowing liquid sometimes. But all of a sudden in October I couldnt swallow my food when we were at a restaurant. Since then it happens a lot. Sometimes i cant swallow saliva very well. i also have sinus problems and thought that might have something to do with it. I can eat when I first get up but lunch and dinner i eat a bout thwelve or thirteen bites and then cant swallow. I can eat some cadies with no problem. Soft stuff is harder for me to swallow.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

I am so sorry about your daughter. It breaks my heart to hear you went through such a horrible tragedy. My condolences to you.

Before you explore a psychological cause for your trouble swallowing, I highly recommend you get another medical opinion. It is never a bad idea to be sure and rule out any physical cause and sometimes doctors can be wrong.

If you are cleared medically, then you may be having symptoms of anxiety. Although it is not common, sometimes anxiety can cause your neck muscles to tense and make it difficult to swallow. Psychology theorists suggest that it is related to the difficulty of "taking in" something unpleasant or even something traumatizing. And if you feel that is accurate for you, then you may want to talk with a therapist.

Did you have therapy at any time after your daughter's death? If so, then you may just have a recurrence of feelings related to the trauma. Sometimes, things we see or hear can affect us unconsciously and we start feeling anxious or depressed, without really understanding the cause.

If you did not have therapy after your daughter's death, then your symptoms most likely are related. It could be from unresolved feelings or a reminder of the trauma.

To find a therapist, try asking your doctor for a referral. Or, if you attend church, your pastor can be a good source either for therapy or to refer you. You can also search on line at

If you feel that you want help right away, especially given how much weight you have lost, you may want to ask your doctor for an anti anxiety medication to help take the edge off the symptoms. Ask for a mild medication, just something you can take until you start seeing a therapist and begin to address the issue.

I hope this has helped you,

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I am on a anxiety medicine now. I ma almost certain it is related to my anxiety. Sometimes i find my fists clenched. Doctor hasnt checked out throat problems becasue I told him about all my anxiety and he put me on meds but hasnt helped too much. I dread every meal cause I usually start to choke. I eat very slow and when I drink water with it goes down better. Thanks for the help.I didnt have any therapy and know I needed some. i got mitral valve prolapse at that time too.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

The doctor should have checked you out regardless if he/she thought that the swallowing problem had to do with anxiety or not. That is a big mistake on his/her part. It is assuming that people who have anxiety cannot get physical problems. Even if your problem is anxiety, you may want to consider changing docs just to be sure that you are not discounted next time.

It is good you are on medication already, but you may want to let your therapist know that the medication is not working for you so they can address the problem. Also, you do not necessarily need to continue the meds if you feel therapy addresses your issue and you start to feel better.

I think once you can talk this out and start to address whatever is behind your trouble swallowing, you will begin to feel better and this problem will go away, as will the fist clenching too. Bodily symptoms such as you are experiencing are almost always signs of feelings that need addressed. It sounds like you are on a good path right now to get this resolved.


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