Phagophobia: how to overcome fear of choking?

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Get rid of fear of choking on food

Pagophobia — disorder, reflected in the fact that a person is experiencing obsessive fear of choking on solid food. Previously this disorder was combined with fear of suffocation — pnigerophobia. Is a subcategory of physical fears associated with feeling pain or discomfort.

How is phagophobia?

As a rule, phagophobia occurs after a person has experienced a negative experience, for example, got choked while eating, which was the cause of mechanical asphyxia. Because of hypoxia, tachycardia, and presyncopal state when choking occurs panic attack. The brain perceives the inability to do a full breath as life threatening. The horror is deposited on a subconscious level. As a result, almost any negative emotion evoke bygone incident, which leads to the formation of anxiety-phobic disorders.

In that case, if a person suffering from phagophobia, not receiving the necessary treatment, he may develop cibophobia, that is, fear before a meal. As a result, the patient may completely refuse from food, which causes the development of anorexia, threatening life and health.

If phagophobia expressed in mild, the patient tends to eat food only in liquid form, which makes it impossible to provide the body with all necessary nutrients.

As a result of phagophobia man can not live a full life. Disorder not only affects feeding behavior: it leads to limitation of social contacts. For example, the patient may give up going to cafes and restaurants, stops going to visit friends, not attending family events, involving a meal. As a result, people may have a negative perceived close people who be considered withdrawn and uncommunicative. On planning your own “safe” menu, you spend a lot of time and effort. Resources to communicate, work and Hobbies are left that forms the basis for the development of depressive disorders.

If phagophobia people aware of the irrationality of their fear, and critical of their own condition. However, this understanding does not allow to control the behavior and to cope with the anxiety that arises whenever the meal.

Symptoms of phagophobia

Like other phobic disorders, phagophobia is apparent in a number of somatic and psychological symptoms. However, they can be expressed in different ways. In severe phagophobia man not only avoids the reception of solid food, but fear pictures, which depicted” potentially hazardous” food.

The main symptoms of phagophobia include:

  • palpitations;
  • increased sweating
  • the inability to take a breath or, on the contrary, increasing the rhythm of the breath;
  • headache or dizziness;
  • sudden weakness in the muscles (the patient’s “knees weak”);
  • tremor of the extremities or whole body;
  • irritability and restlessness;
  • derealization and depersonalization, that is, loss of the ability to navigate space and time and the loss of the feeling of “I”;
  • the desire to escape from reality;
  • the violation of sleep (constant sleepiness or difficulty falling asleep).

For what reasons may develop phagophobia?

There are several reasons for the formation of the fear of choking during the meal:

  • experienced a negative experience: the traumatic situation in which the man choked while eating and felt this intense panic;
  • heredity. Parents transmit basic characteristics of the nervous system: the rate of mental reactions, the duration of the experience of emotions, especially response to stress. Of course, phagophobia is not transmitted by inheritance. However, the predisposition to anxiety-phobic disorders is determined on the genetic level;
  • violation of the biochemical processes in the nervous system. It is proved that the development of the phobia causes a deficiency of certain neurotransmitters.

How can you get rid of phagophobia?

To refuse treatment phagophobia in any case impossible. Because this disease affects the quality of life and physical health of the individual.

The best results in the treatment of phagophobia allows to achieve a combination of psychotherapeutic techniques and drug therapy.

Психотерапия при фагофобии

Therapists usually resort to NLP and cognitive therapy. As for the drugs, for the treatment of phobias using the following controls:

  • antidepressants that stabilizes emotional background;
  • anxiolytics to get rid of constant anxiety;
  • anticonvulsant with a pronounced sedative effect.

Pagophobia — a dangerous condition that can cause the development depression and fear of eating. Don’t know how to get rid of phagophobia? Go to a good therapist, and it will select for you a comprehensive treatment regimen. With the right approach, qualified specialist and the presence of self motivation of the patient the possibility of complete recovery from anxiety phobias.


I hope that this article has helped our readers to learn more about this unusual fear as phagophobia – fear of choking. We will be glad if you will join our project by clicking repost or leave comments. Together with you, we help many people get rid of fears and phobias!


Related and similar phobias:

  • Mysophobia – fear of dirt, fear of Contracting the infection;
  • Amathophobia – fear of dust and dirt;
  • Trypanophobia – fear of injections;
  • Сrippling dental phobia the fear of dental pain and treatment at a dentist’s office;
  • Algophobia is the fear of physical pain;
  • Anginophobia – fear to suffocate or choke;
  • Selenophobia fear to cut yourself with a sharp object;
  • Nosophobia – fear of disease;
  • Hypnophobia – fear to sleep (fear to go to sleep and Wake up).
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