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Aibu to be frustrated with my child's choking worry?

(35 Posts)
Worriedmum4 Wed 01-Jul-20 09:14:10

Sorry if posted in wrong place, don't know where to post.
My son is 9. He is a VERY anxious child. Everybody that knows him would never guess. He comes across as super loud and confident. We have constant problems with him, ranging from biting all the skin off his fingers whilst at school, he has a digit cube to try and stop this, stomach aches and diarrhoea, panic attacks and feeling like he can't breathe. He worries me sick all of the time.
Since he has been off school he has developed a new issue. He says he feels like there is something stuck in his throat all the time. When he eats he says he feels like he can't swallow properly and the food is getting stuck in his throat. He then starts to cough and panic and needs to drink a drink with each mouthful of food he takes. Its been going on for weeks and getting worse to the point where he's hardly anything.
I know where it has come from. Years ago he did have a slight choking incident on an oven chip, it frightened him and he's never eaten chips again. He he did this back then for a while but eventually returned to normal for a couple of years but it's now started again. He is very skinny as it is and I'm very worried that it is going to develop I to some kind of eating disorder.

In normal circumstances I would be straight down to the doctors with him to get his throat checked to reassure him, and to check that there isn't actually a problem in there, and also id like him to have some CBT counselling to try and help him with it. He has had this before for his other issues.
But of course coronovirus means we can't access any of these services at the moment and don't know when we will be able to. I'm worried sick about him to be honest. I worry about him on a day to day basis but I also worry about his future. His anxiety rules his life now, I just don't know how he will be able to function as an independent adult.
Have any of you had experience of your child having this problem with their throat being linked to anxiety, and how did you manage it? Thanks in advance

OP’s posts: |
borntohula Wed 01-Jul-20 09:38:53

I was an extremely anxious child and I just about function as an adult. Bless his heart, YANBU to be frustrated and I think seeing a GP would be a good idea, can you not at least get the ball rolling now? I'm not sure what the current situation is re seeing doctors.

HangeMyCamne Wed 01-Jul-20 09:55:56

I choked as a child and I have never forgotten the fear. I've carried that fear all throughout my life and I'm very anxious whenever my children eat. I havnt passed my fear onto my children but it's horrible worrying every single day

Until you can get some proper support for him if it was me id just buy a blender and let him drink his food, its not ideal but if your worried about his weight then it's somthing id do until you can get the support

ItsSpittingEverybodyIn Wed 01-Jul-20 10:18:21

Poor lad. I have an anxious child too, he's been much better while not at school.
I would take yours to the gp, they will be able to help.

YouCantBeSadHoldingACupcake Wed 01-Jul-20 10:21:02

My dd goes through stages like this. It gets very frustrating but it does always pass. No advice really, the gp said to just ignore the behaviour

ItsSpittingEverybodyIn Wed 01-Jul-20 10:23:33

Also op, have a look at his tonsils, one of mine kept having trouble swallowing and his tonsils were so big they were touching, he had them out, been fine since.

UncleMatthewsEntrenchingTool Wed 01-Jul-20 10:27:37

If he’s an anxious one it could be globus pharageous (?sp). Constant feeling of something being stuck in your throat, linked to anxiety.

Shinygoldbauble Wed 01-Jul-20 10:29:49

Surely you can get a GP appointment. People are allowed to see doctors for r things other than Corona.

midnightstar66 Wed 01-Jul-20 10:37:13

I remember as a child often getting a weird build up in my throat that felt uncomfortable like there was something stuck. Maybe something is there and his anxiety is exacerbating his response. GP services are still available!

BlusteryShowers Wed 01-Jul-20 10:38:27

Are you sure you can't access services? As far as I am aware they're trying to prevent people not getting help because of Coronavirus.

You should ring them, they can only say no.

vinoelle Wed 01-Jul-20 10:45:31

I’m a gp and I’d be happy for a telephone chat about this- I wouldn’t want it to snowball and there’s no telling when we will be “back to normal services” so I would just give them a call. We aren’t supposed to be doing throat examinations tho so just bare that in mind.

Please don’t blender his food as PP suggested - that risks just encouraging things and making him feel there actually is a risk there

corythatwas Wed 01-Jul-20 11:13:36

I would certainly try to get a phone appointment. Also, you can use relaxation techniques with him at home. Breathing exercises can be good.

lovelifehope Wed 01-Jul-20 11:21:25

It sounds like it’s definitely linked to a bit of anxiety, especially given that he nearly once nearly choked on a chip. I think perhaps a bit of relaxation therapy would help. Try not to wotrry too much, I’m sure he’ll grow out of it. As a child I was quite similar.

IamEarthymama Wed 01-Jul-20 11:25:37

Please don't feel you can't contact your GP at the moment.
I have had phone consultations, in person appointments at medical centre, blood tests, X-ray at local hospital and I am waiting for a scan.
Covid19 hasn't stopped people becoming ill with other conditions, if only.

Please contact your GP and your child's school. I am sure there is help out there. As a very anxious child myself I know how I could obsess over things but talking always helped.

Worriedmum4 Wed 01-Jul-20 11:39:07

I already know they aren't allowed to check the mouth / throat at the moment so I don't think there is any point in going.
I have rang CAHMS this morning and asked them if we can go and see them again as I think they are still running, or I could at least get the ball running.
Obviously I am not a doctor but I can tell 100% that it is anxiety linked. I only want him to have tests done to show him that there is nothing wrong.

Everything is magnified for him at the moment being stuck at home. There is nothing to take his mind of it so he's obsessing over it. Hopefully cahms will be able to point us in the right direction, I'm also interested in looking into some child hypnotherapy

OP’s posts: |
HeavenCanWait Wed 01-Jul-20 12:39:48

I've name changed for this as it's very outing...

Several weeks ago I choked - completely and very dramatically, to the point of DH having to do the Heimlich several times, and DS having to run to bang on doors for help. I lost consciousness after about a minute and a half, and as my throat was totally blocked, I stopped breathing. I didn't have any air for a good couple of minutes, but thanks to a very wonderful neighbour who dislodged the blockage and didn't even complain a great deal when I vomited on him I'm alive.

DS witnessed a lot of this, and has been deeply affected by it - he too is terrified of choking... understandably, as he saw what can happen. He has lost a lot of weight and will only eat specific/very limited foods (and every meal takes forever). I spoke to the GP who referred him to CAMHS; the good news is that although the waiting lists are long and that it's displaying as an eating disorder, the fact that it isn't 'really' an eating disorder so should be a 'quick fix' with CBT etc.

Start with talking to your GP - hopefully you'll get through the system quickly. I know how worrying/frustrating it is - good luck!

Worriedmum4 Wed 01-Jul-20 14:52:49

Thank you @HeavenCanWait and I am so glad that you are ok!!

OP’s posts: |
ErickBroch Wed 01-Jul-20 14:56:11

My friend has this as a child around this age - she ended up severely underweight and attending an eating disorder clinic! She had a lot of counselling and recovered. It won't vanish on it's own flowers

Slipjigger Wed 01-Jul-20 17:07:09

OP I went through the same experience a few years ago. I was having a hard time with studying, minding kids and I had one child that was having nightmare behaviour. I was very stressed out and developed a panic disorder. I was having constant panic attacks. My manifested in feeling like I couldnt breathe properly. I got terrible tightness in my neck (from tense muscles) which magnified my anxiety that I couldnt breathe.

It quickly developed into a fear of choking. I began to by hyper sensitive when swallowing food. I could feel it going down my throat and I became convinced I was going to choke. Because of this hyper awareness and the tightness in my throat from tense muscles, I started to gag sometimes swallowing. Of course this exacerbated the situation.
I got so bad I wouldnt eat unless there was someone around me as I was afraid I would choke on my own. I struggled to eat certain foods. Sometimes I would chew the food but be unable to bring myself to swallow and I would have to spit it out. I lost 1/2 stone in a week from not eating.
I was convinced I would end up being tube fed in hospital, it was genuinely the worst time of my life.
I went for CBT and it was amazing though it took a while for the fear to go. Still sometimes I get it back and will have to struggle through a meal but it doesnt happen too often thank god.
He needs to see a professional for his anxiety, the longer this goes on the harder it may be to get rid of it.

I am not sure I would advise a liquid diet as this may reinforce his fear of choking as he may feel that secretly you fear him choking too. I found food I could chew very well helped, so maybe something like soup and crackers that he can nibble on. Bread would have been hard for me. Things like grapes, apples, meat were definitely out.
My ds has a peanut allergy and I convinced myself that I would become allergic and so I stopped eating all nuts. Part of my CBT was to restart eating them and eat them until all the fear was gone.
I imagine they may do that with his fear of chips too.

I hope he gets help and recovers soon, I can imagine how distressing it is for you all.

MitziK Wed 01-Jul-20 17:47:38

Worriedmum4

Sorry if posted in wrong place, don't know where to post.
My son is 9. He is a VERY anxious child. Everybody that knows him would never guess. He comes across as super loud and confident. We have constant problems with him, ranging from biting all the skin off his fingers whilst at school, he has a digit cube to try and stop this, stomach aches and diarrhoea, panic attacks and feeling like he can't breathe. He worries me sick all of the time.
Since he has been off school he has developed a new issue. He says he feels like there is something stuck in his throat all the time. When he eats he says he feels like he can't swallow properly and the food is getting stuck in his throat. He then starts to cough and panic and needs to drink a drink with each mouthful of food he takes. Its been going on for weeks and getting worse to the point where he's hardly anything.
I know where it has come from. Years ago he did have a slight choking incident on an oven chip, it frightened him and he's never eaten chips again. He he did this back then for a while but eventually returned to normal for a couple of years but it's now started again. He is very skinny as it is and I'm very worried that it is going to develop I to some kind of eating disorder.

In normal circumstances I would be straight down to the doctors with him to get his throat checked to reassure him, and to check that there isn't actually a problem in there, and also id like him to have some CBT counselling to try and help him with it. He has had this before for his other issues.
But of course coronovirus means we can't access any of these services at the moment and don't know when we will be able to. I'm worried sick about him to be honest. I worry about him on a day to day basis but I also worry about his future. His anxiety rules his life now, I just don't know how he will be able to function as an independent adult.
Have any of you had experience of your child having this problem with their throat being linked to anxiety, and how did you manage it? Thanks in advance

Not particularly wanting to be that person here, but my first boyfriend had exactly the same feeling and the gallons of water with every mouthful is exactly what he did.

Turned out that he had something called Sialectasis (? I'm remembering how he pronounced it) due to stones forming and had to have his parotid glands removed. It had been written off as anxiety after he nearly choked on some roast beef, but eventually, their dentist spotted it and he was urgently referred when he was 12.

He said that he could feel something in his throat, it got worse when he ate and everything was too dry to eat as soon as he started chewing (because the stones were stopping saliva coming out into his mouth).

InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream Thu 02-Jul-20 23:16:56

I would also be wary of writing this off as anxiety. Skinny, anxiety, lump in throat. Thyroid?

Worriedmum4 Sat 04-Jul-20 17:27:58

@InSpaceNooneCanHearYouScream thanks for your comment. I will definitely ask the gp about this. I have just had a quick read on Google about it and he doesn't really match any of the symptoms listed but no harm in them testing for it.

OP’s posts: |
Worriedmum4 Sat 04-Jul-20 17:31:16

We have had a very bad couple of days with him but I've observed a lot to make me think even more it is anxiety.
When he is distracted or is given just a snack, he can eat it. Even something like a Cereal bar which is chewy and dry.
But as meal time approaches he is getting himself worked up. When he has to sit down for his meal he gets very anxious and the coughing starts etc. It has Just taken him an hour to eat fish fingers and beans. Each mouthful taking a good 10 minutes to be swallowed. Eventually we put it on bread and he could eat it no problem, as he had a cheese sandwich for lunch that he also ate ok.
Im feeling very anxious myself about it, I just want it to go away!!! I'm hoping as each day goes on he gets better rather than worse

OP’s posts: |
BrandNewShinyThings Sat 04-Jul-20 17:45:24

I have a DS who has suffered with anxiety on and off over the years. My advice would be to scrap mealtimes altogether at the moment as it is obviously magnifying his fears. Instead I would let him snack as and when he wants to without any comment or drama, I would leave pots of snacks he is happy with lying around and tell him he can have them wherever he wants to without asking. I would allow him to do this for as long as it takes him to begin to relax around food. As long as he is eating something it doesn't matter where or when.
There is a condition called globus sensation which causes the feeling of a lump in the throat. It might be worth looking into this and even mentioning it as a possible cause to him, sometimes just knowing that there could be a non sinister reason can be enough to lessen the anxiety.

BrandNewShinyThings Sat 04-Jul-20 17:47:39

Be prepared for a marathon not a sprint, your anxiety about wanting it to go away is understandable but he might be picking up on this and it could in fact be making the situation worse.

These are just my observations as a mum, not a medical professional, but this is the route I would take for now until you can get him checked out. Best of luck.

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