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Question
Posted by: WN | 2010-08-26

What can I do?

Dear CyberShrink

A while ago, I nearly choked quite badly on a piece of steak in a restaurant. Ever since I have been conscious of my swallowing to prevent the same from ever happening again, with the result that I sometimes battle to get the food down immediately.

I know this must sound bizarre, but it is a problem for me. I think I have now also developed a spasm of the oesophagus as a result of this. I am trying to forget about it but somehow I remember it every time I eat.

Please help me.

Thank you.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Not bizarre at all. This is an excellent example of a what feels like physical problem which is actually a lasting psychological problem caused by a temporary physical problem, but with physical effects.
The experience you had was obviously frightening, and may even have caused some mild physical discomfort for a few days - but enough to cause you to focus excessively on the business of swallowing, and to feel awkward and apprehensive about it. This can indeed cause a degree of spasm in the oesophagus when swallowing. Maybe sometimes you're distracted and don\t think about it, and would swallow normally. Other times, when you're thinking and worrying about it, it will feel awkward.
Medication is not needed, but a psychologist could help, especially if using Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT ) which can help you learn to relax voluntarily whenever you need to do so, and to unlearn this fear that has started to become routine. This treatment should be highly successful, and shouldn't take long

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

1
Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010-08-26

Not bizarre at all. This is an excellent example of a what feels like physical problem which is actually a lasting psychological problem caused by a temporary physical problem, but with physical effects.
The experience you had was obviously frightening, and may even have caused some mild physical discomfort for a few days - but enough to cause you to focus excessively on the business of swallowing, and to feel awkward and apprehensive about it. This can indeed cause a degree of spasm in the oesophagus when swallowing. Maybe sometimes you're distracted and don\t think about it, and would swallow normally. Other times, when you're thinking and worrying about it, it will feel awkward.
Medication is not needed, but a psychologist could help, especially if using Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT ) which can help you learn to relax voluntarily whenever you need to do so, and to unlearn this fear that has started to become routine. This treatment should be highly successful, and shouldn't take long

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