What Is the Fear of Swallowing Pills Called?

When someone is afraid of a specific action, place, or situation, the fear is labeled with the term ‘phobias.’ Medical references for a phobia state that they are essentially a type of anxiety disorder. Anxiety causes a person to experience fear and stress. A Phobia is, in some ways is a concentrated type of fear. 

Diagnostically a phobia is described as a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation that results in a rapid onset of fear and is present for more than six months. For example, the fear of swallowing pills would classify as a type of phobia. The National Institute of Mental Health discusses the symptoms that occur when a person has a phobia. 

A phobia is an intense fear of—or aversion to—specific objects or situations. Although it can be realistic to be anxious in some circumstances, the fear people with phobias feel is out of proportion to the actual danger caused by the situation or object. There are these common types of phobias: Flying, Heights, Specific animals, such as spiders, dogs, or snakes, Receiving injections, Blood, [swallowing pills]. (NIMH

Symptoms That Occur When a Person is Afraid of Swallowing Pills?

Also, according to the NIMH, the most likely symptoms that occur when a person is afraid of a specific situation will include: 

  • Having irrational or excessive worry about encountering the feared object or situation
  • Taking active steps to avoid the feared object or situation
  • Experiencing immediate, intense anxiety upon encountering the feared object or situation
  • Endure unavoidable things and conditions with severe anxiety

Most medical doctors and psychiatrists will recommend treating phobias with behavioral therapy, medications, and counseling. Behavioral therapy is an evidence-based form of psychotherapy that is the gold standard for helping people overcome their fears and anxiety. 

The behavioral therapy methods currently leading the field include Cognitive behavioral therapy, Dialectical behavioral therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Exposure Therapy, and Rational emotive behavioral therapy. In addition, evidence-based forms of counseling and psychotherapy are ideal for helping a person overcome their fear of swallowing pills.

What Is the Fear of Swallowing Pills Called?

What Is the Fear of Swallowing Pills Called?

There are two main terms to indicate that someone has a fear of swallowing pills, and they are used interchangeably for the most part. The first term is recognized as a mental health disorder and is called phagophobia. The second term that often gets affiliated with a fear of swallowing pills is Dysphagia. The first identification is more accurate but includes a general fear of swallowing, not just of pills. The second term is meant when a person has dysfunction or pain when they swallow pills or anything. 

The fear of swallowing pills can also include additional anxiety of choking. When a person is afraid that they will choke from swallowing a tablet, it is called pseudo-Dysphagia. Of simplicity, it is best to address the fear of swallowing a pill as a phobia and therefore use the term phagophobia. 

Where to Get Help For Fear of Swallowing Pills?

Along with behavioral therapy methods and counseling, a person can overcome their fear of swallowing pills. To find out more about this diagnosis, we recommend connecting to one of our mental health representatives. The mental health specialists will provide information about this disorder and help you or a family member get the treatment and counseling they require. Anyone who is living in fear of swallowing pills needs professional help. The programs that we recommend that treat phagophobia rely on the most advanced forms of evidence-based therapy. 

Start Healing at Connecticut Addiction Resources

Every person we connect to a counselor or therapy group will receive an individualized treatment plan personalized for them. For example, people who struggle with phobias and anxiety require a specialized program to help and support them. To learn more, please connect to one of our mental health program experts, who will provide all of the details for immediate assessment recommendations and admission. They are available around the clock and all calls are free and confidential.


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