Every once in a while I forget how to swallow... wtf

I think this is related to my Tourette’s Syndrome or OCD, but every once in a while I cannot for the life of me figure out the muscle contractions necessary to swallow. I will sit there gaging, trying, gasping, and whatever else… but the simple process of swallowing saliva–normally something one does hundreds of times per day without thinking–will evade me completely. It gets very uncomfortable and the “forced” methods I try can sometimes actually be painful. Sometimes I find drinking some water will help, but if I’m in my car or somewhere else away from water it doesn’t help. Am I the only one? Do you sometimes “forget” how to do simple bodily functions? Or should I just chalk this up to one of my neurological and/or psychiatric failints?

It might be rabies

I have OCD as well, and sometimes I “forget” for a few seconds too, but then I remember.

I also cannot swallow pills unless I shove them in something like mashed potatoes or cheesecake and trick myself into swallowing them.

I forget to shit probably 95% of the day.

Well thank, you, this makes me feel a little better. I don’t have problems swallowing pills, for some reason, just the general, every minute or so saliva swallowing that gets me. So frustrating!

Holy shit! 5% of a day is 72 minutes!!! You shit a LOT.

Of course not.

You may also be suffering:

You might want to get them checked out too. They might be serious.

Thanks for your list, I’ll consider showing to my PCP. What I experience when I try to swallow sometimes almost seems like a paralysis of the throat muscles. It’s scary.


Sometimes I only think about it. You know: I just remembered I gotta shit. Where is the nearest Micky Dees.

Are you prone to panic attacks? I’ve got a friend with bipolar and social anxiety who, during her manic phases, sometimes has moments like that. Or forgets how to breathe. The paralysis thing you mention is dead on to her description. It almost always is the start of a panic attack.

I have neither Tourettes nor OCD nor any other mental illness or nervous problem. Every now and then I’ll forget how to swallow too. It only lasts a few seconds though.

Same here. Only happens about once a year, for a couple seconds.

Have experienced it also.

Thinking on it, it happens more in times of extreme prolonged stress.

I get anxiety attacks. Not sure if they’re up to the level of panic attacks, though. I’ll mention it to my doctor.

Just some further unsolicited, but possibly worrying suggestions.

ADD drugs have a side effect that will cause difficulty swallowing.
Tourette’s can also cause difficulty swallowing.
OCD can also cause difficulties in swallowing.
Autism & Cerebral Palsy can also be a cause of difficulty swallowing.
AWDD does not have a stated cause for difficulty swallowing, so you can probably cunt that one out.
Anxiety and Stress will cause difficulties in swallowing.
There are loads of other drugs that have the side effect of not being able to swallow. Not the drugs themselves, but side effects post mediation absorption.

I think seeing your doctor over some / all / none of these is probably warranted, especially in light of yesterdays unpleasantness. It might merely be an anxious time for you. I wasn’t quite sure whether in your OP you were suffering this all the time, occasionally or only recently.

Maybe an appointment with your psychiatrist may be in order to rule out psychological influences, then your PCP to rule out medication / drug related influences.

Do you have a sore throat when that happens? Do you swallow or eat anything unusual when you notice it occurring? Maybe it’s a reaction to something you have recently ingested. Do you have allergies? Eating anything unusual?

I can’t say that I have suffered from anything like forgetting to be able to swallow, so this is all speculation, but when in doubt, if this occurs more than once, I would recommend a doctor check you out and advise rather than some internet geek.

Same here, but longer than a few seconds. I don’t panic or anything, though, since I know it will come back. I simply stop trying to swallow.

That happens to me too, from time to time.

Speaking from experience?

Moved MPSIMS --> IMHO, where we put threads on medical and psychological anecdotes and diagnosis.

I experience the same thing, and very often have food go down the “wrong way.” It’s like my epiglottis forgets to close, and I can actually feel food hitting the back of my throat while I’m still chewing it.

Also forgetting to breathe, usually when I’m just falling asleep.