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Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Tightness in Throat / Lump-Like Feeling

08/26/2008

Question:

I am 21 year old guy; no smoking or alcohol history (at all). I have been prescribed Xanex and Adivan at different times and even sertraline which i weened myself off of. My anxiety was classically surrounding exams and academic situations.

A couple of weeks ago i was told i had a mucocele in my mouth which (i was told) is harmless. However, since then i have been probing myself for cancer symptoms. Looking at a lump in my mouth, my fear was almost exclusively on cancer. At first I felt like i had enlarged tonsils and now i feel like i have a tight throat (and no enlarged tonsils).

i felt the tightness in my throat a good hour after i had a meal and i simply cannot get over it. I have been eating to make sure i dont have `difficulty swallowing` food and i can eat whatever i try. I still feel a tightness in my throat ... Is this anxiety? Its really tearing me apart.

Answer:

Two common symptoms of anxiety are excessive worry (including worrying about one's health) and physical symptoms, such as a tightness in your throat.  It sounds like your anxiety may be returning, and I encourage you to talk to your mental health provider again.  Sometimes the return of anxiety symptoms is a good clue that medications and/or therapy ended too soon.  Often, a long remission from anxiety will take several years of medication and/or therapy.

Good Luck.

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Response by:

Nancy   Elder, MD Nancy Elder, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati