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Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Vomiting As A Symptom of Anxiety

02/02/2005

Question:

Dear Dr. I guess what I have is anxiety. It started when I was seven, whenever I went to a restaurant I would get nauseous and feel like I was going to vomit, I would always try to where a T-shirt with a loose neck so that it would not provoke my gag reflex, because a very sensitive gag reflex was my only anxiety symptom. It for some reason only happened at restaurants and certain social situations. As I got older it seemed limited to social situations, now even if I`m in a job interview my throat will tense up and I will feel like I`m going to vomit, but in normal day to day activities it doesn`t seem to be a problem. However, about a year ago I started taking grappling classes and whenever my partner even gets close to my neck or throat it always provokes my gag reflex. So I was wondering if that is an anxiety/mental problem or a medical problem, and how I might control it. I love training in grappling, but, with my condition it makes it almost unbearable. Thanks for your time.

Answer:

It sounds like you might have some anxiety, specifically a phobia, about your throat or possibly panic attacks.  I certainly can't diagnose with just what you have said, but if you have not been to see a primary care physician for a good physical exam, that would be a good start.  There may be some physical condition that adds to your sensitivity, but the way you describe your symptoms certainly make an anxiety disorder likely.

I would encourage you to look at the links to some anxiety websites attached to this answer.

Related Resources:

anxiety disorders of america
NIH NIMH anxiety

For more information:

Go to the Anxiety and Stress Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

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