“All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced debilitating anxiety. But we’ve also overcome it and returned to normal and lasting health. Because we know the hardship anxiety unwellness can cause, we are committed to helping others, with over 30 years of service.” - Jim Folk, President, anxietycentre.com

Chronic Throat Clearing

Jim Folk author
Written by: Jim Folk.
Last updated: May 8, 2020


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Anxiety Question:

I have had most of the anxiety symptoms that you discuss over the last forty years. I have come to recognize them as anxiety. I fear my symptoms.

However, I have a persistent throat clearing and cough that I have every single day. It drives me crazy. Over the years, I have had many tests, and they all show nothing. I feel like I have a lot of mucous in my throat and need to clear it. I do it most of the day, and it interferes with my life and makes me feel depressed.

I focus on it obsessively. Sometimes it feels like I am choking. I have had panic with swallowing intermittently, as well. I don’t often see this listed as a symptom. Do you think the phlegm and throat clearing are related to anxiety and hyperstimulation? 

I have a history of early childhood trauma, and I did choke on a candy once as a young child. I cannot seem to eliminate this most bothersome symptom. I have always been an anxious, panicky person. If you have any suggestions, I would be so grateful. Thank you, and I’m glad I found your website.

Answer:

You are more than welcome. We’re glad you are finding our information helpful!

Chronic phlegm and throat clearing is a common symptom of chronic stress, including the stress caused by anxious behavior. You can read more about the “Anxiety Chronic Throat Clearing” symptom in our Anxiety Symptoms section.

Since you are afraid of your anxiety symptoms, I (Jim Folk) encourage you to connect with one of our recommended therapists to help you overcome this fear.

While you can extinguish this fear on your own, it typically takes far longer without professional help. Until this fear is extinguished, it can continue to stress your body and cause your symptoms to persist.



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Furthermore, fears like this can be driven by beliefs established during earlier traumatic experiences, such as you mentioned, and the one you mentioned about choking on a candy when you were young. Until these beliefs are identified and successfully addressed, extinguishing fears like this can be challenging using a self-help only approach.

Moreover, since you said you’ve always been an anxious, panicky person, professional assistance can help you move beyond that style of behavior, which can also help to extinguish long-held fears.

Again, while you can overcome anxious behavior on your own if you work at it, our experience has shown that the success rate of a self-help only approach to overcoming anxiety problems is low. However, the success rate of overcoming anxiety disorder with the assistance of a professional therapist is high. That’s why we recommend working with an experienced therapist so often: we want to see people recover.

Our passion is to help people overcome anxiety issues so that they can return to a wonderful life free of problematic anxiety. Working with a professional therapist is the most effective way to accomplish that.[1][2][3]

Issues with anxiety can be overcome. We wish you every success in attaining lasting freedom from problematic anxiety.



The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.


Additional Resources:


Return to our Anxiety Frequent Questions section.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including how to overcome the chronic throat clearing anxiety symptom.


REFERENCES:

1. Hofmann, Stefan G., et al. “The Efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Review of Meta-Analyses.” Cognitive Therapy and Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Oct. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3584580/.

2. Leichsenring, Falk. “Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy the Gold Standard for Psychotherapy?” JAMA, American Medical Association, 10 Oct. 2017, jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2654783.

3. DISCLAIMER: Because each body is somewhat chemically unique, and because each person will have a unique mix of symptoms and underlying factors, recovery results may vary. Variances can occur for many reasons, including due to the severity of the condition, the ability of the person to apply the recovery concepts, and the commitment to making behavioral change.