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Overcoming anxiety when swallowing pills
by TeenHelp August 3rd 2019, 12:31 PM

Overcoming anxiety when swallowing pills
By Cassie (cynefin)

While some people don't think twice when it is time to take a medication, others find it to be a big source of anxiety. A lot of adults and children alike are able to swallow pills, but there are more people than commonly thought who cannot.

Pill swallowing anxiety can be caused by previous bad experiences. Some have difficulty because as children, they are taught to not put non-food items in their mouths. Some pills (such as time release) cannot be chewed or crushed and swallowing them may feel foreign.

While medications now come in plenty of forms it is sometimes necessary to overcome pill swallowing anxiety to maintain good health. Below are a few methods to try. Note that it is important to visit a doctor to rule out any possible underlying conditions as well.

Try to swallow candy. Because candy tastes good, some people have found success by swallowing it. It can help to start with a small candy, such as a mini M&M and slowly work your way up to other ones, like a Good n' Plenty or a mint.

Experiment by putting pills into soft foods. It is suggested to eat before or while taking pills to prevent possible pain on an empty stomach. Slip a pill into jello, pudding, apple sauce, or ice cream. Peanut butter and honey are also foods to consider. If you can swallow a spoonful of ice cream or pudding, the pill will likely slide down with it. If you'd rather try eating a pill with other foods, try to chew your food toward the back of your tongue. Once you've done that, put the pill on the back of your tongue and then swallow it.

Use a pill swallowing aid. Places such as Amazon and local pharmacies sometimes sell different contraptions, such as a bottle topper or a pill cup. These are designed to be used with water (or a drink of your choice) with the idea that the liquid will help push the pill down your throat.

If you are taking a tablet, take a sip of water and then tilt your head back. You should be able to work the pill back far enough to swallow it fairly quickly. If you need to take capsules, pop the pill in with a mouthful of water and touch your chin to your chest. The capsule will float and this makes it easier to swallow it.

Try to guide your thoughts. Some children and adults have had positive results with imagery. Pretend, for instance, that your tongue is a slide and you're trying to slide the pill down it - the end of the slide goes down your throat.

Try other alternatives


Some pills can be broken or crushed. Ask your doctor if it is safe to do so before trying this. You can crush the pill and add it into a food, or a stronger drink such as grape juice or apple cider. Know that eventually, you may dislike the drink you use because it will be associated with pill taking.

Look into other forms of medication. Some medications can be dissolved, injected, or used through a patch. Some pharmacies will also make medications into a liquid form, but those tend to taste rather unpleasant.

Be patient with yourself


Swallowing pills can take a lot of time and trial and error. It can take months, or even years to be able to swallow a pill but it is possible. Being kind to yourself will help throughout the process.
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