When you're afraid, phobic of consuming any medication
For some people, concern about taking medication becomes a fear or even a phobia (avoidance) of taking medication. Such a fear not only involves medication for anxiety disorders but also all other medication, whether it's aspirin or antibiotics. Sometimes the fear causes the person to have difficulty swallowing pills.
If you have a fear of taking medication, then you should be open about your fear with your doctor. Discuss every possible reason why you might be afraid. If you haven't thought about it, then take a half an hour or so to write down how you feel. Much of your fear probably has to do with a lack of knowledge about medication. So, as with other concerns mentioned in this article, you need to start researching medication and understanding why it is used in anxiety disorders treatment. You should also start Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy right away, and discuss your concerns about medication with the therapist. Tell the therapist that this is a major fear for you and you think it is a priority to work on it. Of course, you'll want to find a therapist who isn't anti-medication. Often, your psychiatrist (doctor) will have some recommendations for you.
A fear of medication is not unusual, particularly among people with anxiety disorders. Your doctor, if an anxiety disorders specialist, should not be surprised by your fear and should be patient and willing to work with you. If not, it might be time to find a doctor who is patient. What do you have to lose?
When you have difficulty swallowing pills:
There are a number of reasons why some people have difficulty swallowing pills:
- Fear of taking medication
- Fear of choking
- Underlying health problem
- No major underlying reason -- just have always had difficulty
I've already talked about the medication fear above. Again, if this has become such a problem that you can't swallow any pills, you'll probably have to work on it directly with a therapist (just as someone would work on the fear of driving or public speaking). A fear of choking would involve similar work.
If you are having difficulty swallowing pills, you should make sure you have a complete physical, telling your doctor about the difficulty. Be sure there is not a physical cause.
Finally, there are people (with and without anxiety disorders) who simply have a hard time swallowing pills. Discuss your problem with your doctor, emphasizing that this has always been a problem for you. It's not unusual! Ask about options for taking your medication. There might be a liquid form of the medication. Or you might be able to crush up a pill and put it in other liquid or food (be sure to ask your doctor about this first!!). These options might also help the person who fears choking when taking medication. Do not feel badly about having to use one of these options.
- Created: 17 October 2008
- Last Updated: 24 April 2013