PHAGOPHOBIA or fear of choking: symptoms, causes and treatment

  • Jul 26, 2021
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Phagophobia or fear of choking: symptoms, causes and treatment

Is it normal not to be able to swallow because of anxiety? Phagophobia is an irrational fear of choking. This fear can reach the point that the person who suffers from it avoids consuming solid foods and therefore ends up putting her life at risk. In the most serious cases, you even avoid swallowing anything, including liquid foods, drinks, and even your own saliva. It is part of anxiety disorders although it is also sometimes part of obsessive compulsive disorder.

It is a rare disorder, it is estimated that 1 in 500 people suffer from it. However, it may once have happened to you in a milder way or to someone you know. In recent years the incidence has increased, but due to the few studies that exist on the disorder, it is sometimes difficult to detect. Therefore, to know the different symptoms, causes and treatments of phagophobia or fear of choking, keep reading Psychology-Online.

How to get out of phagophobia? It is vital for the person to treat this pathology due to the risk of malnutrition that could be prolonged over time. Overcoming the fear of choking is possible with professional guidance.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. One of the most useful therapies for this type of problem is the cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy for phagophobia aims to correct the distorted thoughts that are keeping the person in trouble.
  • Clarification and achievement of values. As a complement, techniques typical of the third generation therapies how is the clarification and achievement of values, that is, it would try to reflect to the person what aspects important aspects of his life has been put aside due to his phobia and it would be seen, later, how these areas. This is important since due to the phobia the person usually avoids social events since they usually take place around a meal. Consequently, social relationships are lost and family, couple, social and work problems arise.
  • Routine exposure and desensitization. Subsequently, to overcome fear of choking, perform a gradual exposure with the therapist to stimuli that cause less fear and ending with stimuli that more anxiety and fear produce. These exercises for phagophobia are known as systematic desensitization. In some cases, if it is not possible to carry out a real and live exhibition of the feared situations, the exhibition that will take place will be imagined. Although, it is less effective.
  • Relaxation techniques. In order for such exposure to be carried out, the person will have been previously taught different relaxation techniques. In addition, these techniques serve to reduce the physical and physiological symptoms mentioned above. We recommend you do the guided relaxation for anxiety that we leave you below.

In any case, it is extremely important that the treatment is carried out by a qualified professional since, if not If this is the case, it is highly probable that the problem could become more serious and could lead to the death of the person.

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online 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.

If you want to read more articles similar to Phagophobia or fear of choking: symptoms, causes and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Clinical psychology.

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