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Anxiety This forum is for seeking advice on anxiety and stress related issues.

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Overcoming fear of swallowing tablets - October 14th 2015, 04:32 PM

Don't suppose anyone has fears of swallowing tablets/capsules?

I have a skin infection (impetigo) which requires antibiotics. At the moment, I can take them in liquid form, but if that doesn't work, the alternatives are stronger antibiotics but in the form of tablets/capsules.

This isn't a physical problem since I can swallow fine. I just get so anxious. I've tried looking online on 'how to swallow capsules' and followed the steps with capsules that I had before, but I end up shaking with anxiety and having the capsules open in my mouth instead. I hate the feeling of them going down my throat and am scared they will get stuck. Whenever I have dinner, I always have my food first, then have a drink once I've finished eating. I can't stand eating and drinking at the same time. I'm scared of choking too. I haven't had any traumatic incidents with choking. Just the usual rushing your food as a child and inhaling some food, where you cough and splutter and 5 minutes later you are fine. Unless, nearly drowning counts, as I must've breathed in some pool water when I was younger, but didn't need any medical attention.

I just hate it. People look at me stupid when I say that I can't swallow tablets. Worse they think I'm making it up :/


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Re: Overcoming fear of swallowing tablets - October 14th 2015, 05:53 PM

I used to have this too, now I only hesitate if the pill is bigger or a different shape than I'm used to.

You may have tried this, but I get a mouthful of water first and then pop the pill in and swallow instead of the opposite. It takes more water though, but works for me every time. Just make sure if the pill is longer that you put it in lengthwise.


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Re: Overcoming fear of swallowing tablets - October 14th 2015, 06:23 PM

It's actually quite a common thing and is seen in people of all ages.

My best advice is to remember that the company making the tablets/capsules would be quickly sued if anyone was to get it stuck in their throat. Therefore, they ensure that this doesn't happen by not making them bigger than the oesophagus (in fact, they're a lot smaller).

The tablet would have to be the size of a golf ball to get stuck. The reason they often feel stuck is because the throat is dry (take a sip of water before you begin), or you do that thing of trying to swallow but rejecting the tablet. This usually happens because the anxiety has kicked in and your throat muscles are not relaxed enough.

I know it's easier said than done, but it really is a case of mind over matter. The tablet cannot get stuck in a healthy throat (i.e. devoid of scar tissue, swelling, etc.)

I too don't like to feel the tablet hitting the back of my throat, as that is when I am most likely to reject it. So I ensure that I place the tablet lengthways on the back of my tongue, take a reasonable gulp of water and then swallow normally.

If I panic, my throat tightens, and I can't do it. So the trick is to stay calm.

If you don't get it down after a couple of attempts, remove the tablet, take a deep breath, and start again. This should stop the tablet/capsule melting too much or splitting open.

It's difficult to begin with, but once you've done it a few times you wonder why you were scared in the first place.


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Re: Overcoming fear of swallowing tablets - October 14th 2015, 09:08 PM

I'm sorry you have this trouble. I don't know much about this considering I've been taking pills since I was five and am the opposite of you. I can swallow most pills without water. I can try and help though.

My grandpa has trouble swallowing pills and what he does is takes water first then puts the pill in swallow and then take more water. I also think you should stay relaxed and calm because I know when I'm worked up that's when I have panic attacks and can't breathe. So maybe take a couple of deep breathes and be mindful and then try. water then pill then more water. I hope this helped a little bit.


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Re: Overcoming fear of swallowing tablets - October 15th 2015, 10:29 AM

If it's a small pill, I sometimes put it in a food that I can easily swallow without chewing. Something like pudding or mashed potatoes or ice cream. Plus what everyone else has already said. Even though I've been taking huge pills my whole life, sometimes I'll still freak out when I do it.



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Re: Overcoming fear of swallowing tablets - October 15th 2015, 08:36 PM

I just remembered how I used to do it before I managed with water.

Chewing some food, putting the tablet in and then swallowing. You can sort of trick your brain into thinking you're just swallowing the food.


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Re: Overcoming fear of swallowing tablets - October 18th 2015, 02:27 PM

I have to take three-four pills every day, and always get anxiety about taking them (especially if they're big). Typically, I take it with a strong tasting liquid, such as grape juice, and quickly swallow both together. Sometimes the taste of the pill is enough for me to want to spit it out, but taking it with some sort of juice has helped me.


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Re: Overcoming fear of swallowing tablets - October 21st 2015, 02:45 PM

All of the suggestions I was thinking of have been given.
I find swallowing the pill with water to be the most helpful. I have a problem though with a pill I take that dissolves quickly so I tend to take that one by itself as quickly as possible and then I swallow water.
It seems you have gotten quite a few great replies. Hopefully they help!!
   
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Re: Overcoming fear of swallowing tablets - November 1st 2015, 11:57 PM

How about trying small pills and working your way up. Vitamin pills come in all different sizes and you can work your way up. I has this fear when I was a child --your mind isn't used to the idea of swallowing solid objects whole. It wants to tell you that you could choke. To get around that, just start with small pills that don't seem to bad and gradually start bigger and bigger until you are used to the feeling.
   
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