“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

Anxiety And A Constant Lump in the Throat Feeling

Jim Folk author
Written by: Jim Folk.
Medically reviewed by: Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated: October 28, 2019


Constant lump in the throat feeling anxiety symptom

Having a constant lump in the throat feeling is a common symptom of anxiety disorder, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and others.

To see if anxiety might be playing a role in your anxiety symptoms, rate your level of anxiety using our free one-minute instant results Anxiety Test or Anxiety Disorder Test. The higher the rating, the more likely it could be contributing to your anxiety symptoms, including having a constant lump in the throat.

This article explains the relationship between anxiety and a constant lump in the throat feeling.

Lump in the throat description:

This feeling is often described as:

  • Constant lump in the throat feeling.
  • Lump in the throat.
  • A lump in the throat feeling that comes and goes.
  • It feels like there is a lump in the throat when swallowing.
  • Anxiety lump in throat.
  • Feeling of choking or something is stuck in the throat.
  • A lump or something stuck in the throat after eating.
  • Tight throat.
  • A lump in the throat thyroid area.
  • Feels like there is something tied around the throat.
  • Globus Hystericus.
  • Globus anxiety.
  • Feel there is something blocking the throat or airway.

While there is no apparent reason why this lump in the throat feeling occurs (there’s nothing in your throat to cause a lump in the throat feeling), you feel you have to or are forced to swallow, gag, or gasp for air because of a perceived blockage in your throat or airway.

This anxiety lump feeling can occur rarely, frequently, or persist indefinitely. For example, you feel a lump in the throat feeling once in a while and not that often, feel it off and on regularly, or have it all the time.

This feeling can precede, accompany, or follow an escalation of other anxiety symptoms, or occur by itself.

This feeling can precede, accompany, or follow an episode of nervousness, anxiety, fear, and elevated stress, or occur "out of the blue" and for no apparent reason.

This feeling can range in intensity from barely noticeable, to moderate, to severe. It can also come in waves where it’s strong one moment and barely noticeable the next.

This feeling can change from day to day and from moment to moment.

All of the above combinations and variations are common.

Can anxiety cause a lump in the throat feeling?

Medical Advisory

Can anxiety cause a constant lump in the throat feeling? Yes! Here’s why:

Being anxious activates the stress response. The stress response causes immediate physiological, psychological, and emotional changes in the body that enhance the body's ability to deal with a threat—to either fight with or flee from it—which is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the fight or flight response.[1][2]

A part of the stress response changes include causing the body’s muscles to tighten so that they are more resilient to damage. This muscle tightening effect can affect any muscle and muscle group in the body, including the muscles in the throat that help you swallow. This symptom is an example of how the throat can feel when the throat muscles are tight due to being anxious.

So being anxious can cause a ‘lump in the throat feeling.’ Many people who are nervous or anxious experience this feeling.

Chronic stress (stress-response hyperstimulation) can also cause a "lump in the throat" feeling. Chronic stress can cause the body to exhibit similar sensations and symptoms to that of an active stress response.[3][4] Having a constant lump in the throat feeling is a common symptom of chronic stress and how it affects the body’s muscles, including the muscles in the throat.

Lump in the throat anxiety treatment

When this feeling is caused by an active stress response due to being anxious (or nervous), calming yourself down will bring an end to the stress response and its changes. As your body recovers from the active stress response, this feeling should disappear in time.

Keep in mind that it can take up to 20 minutes or more for the body to recover from a major stress response. But this is normal and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

When this feeling is caused by hyperstimulation (chronic stress), it can take a lot longer for the body to recover and to the point where this symptom subsides.

Reducing your body’s stress and giving your body ample time to return to normal, non-hyperstimulated health should cause this feeling to subside. Therefore, this symptom needn’t be a cause for concern.

Sure, this feeling can be unsettling and even annoying. But it will disappear when you deal with your body’s stress.

Keep in mind that this symptom isn't harmful or causing harm to your body or throat. It just feels bothersome.

For more details about how to overcome problematic anxiety, including why symptoms can persist long after the stress response has ended, common barriers to recovery and symptom elimination, and more recovery strategies and tips, we have many chapters that address this information in the Recovery Support area of our website.

Therapy

If you are having difficulty with problematic anxiety, you might want to connect with one of our recommended anxiety disorder therapists. Working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to overcome anxiety disorder, its symptoms, and what can seem like unmanageable worry.


 


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 Anxiety Disorder Symptoms section.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and coaching/counseling/therapy for problematic anxiety and its sensations and symptoms, including the anxiety symptom having a constant lump in the throat feeling.


REFERENCES:

1. Selye, H. (1956). The stress of life. New York, NY, US: McGraw-Hill.

2. Folk, Jim and Folk, Marilyn. “The Stress Response And Anxiety Symptoms.” anxietycentre.com, August 2019.

3. Hannibal, Kara E., and Mark D. Bishop. “Chronic Stress, Cortisol Dysfunction, and Pain: A Psychoneuroendocrine Rationale for Stress Management in Pain Rehabilitation.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2014.

4. Justice, Nicholas J., et al. “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder-Like Induction Elevates β-Amyloid Levels, Which Directly Activates Corticotropin-Releasing Factor Neurons to Exacerbate Stress Responses.” Journal of Neuroscience, Society for Neuroscience, 11 Feb. 2015.