How To Overcome Fear of Swallowing Pills
Difficulty Swallowing Pills
I have had trouble swallowing pills most of my life. It comes from my fear of swallowing pills. My parents had tried to train me and my sister to do it at an early age. It was just a small vitamin, but I choked on it. That incident is what I believe started my difficulties with swallowing pills.
Everyone will need to take medicine at some point in their life so I have had to find different ways to deal with it. I have had to change strategies throughout the years as what had worked with some medicines in the past, I was not able or allowed to do with a new medicine.
Apparently I am not the only one with this issue. According to statistics approximately 40 percent of the population has difficulty swallowing pills. If you struggle with it as well read on, I am sure at least one of the techniques that I tried can work for you.
Intro Photo By:whatsittoyou
Are You One Of The 40%?
Do You Have Difficulty Swallowing Pills?
The Liquid Solution
Image courtesy of alexa627 / http://www.flickr.com
One of the things you can try to do is when you are prescribed medication, or buying it yourself, ask if it is available in a liquid format. This worked when I was a child and I got tonsillitis frequently. I always made sure I got the liquid medicine. However some of the liquids can taste so bad you just don't want to take it.
What I learned during this time is that you should inquire about what flavors are available. If you or your children are prescribed antibiotics for tonsillitis/strep throat, I highly recommend you chose the banana flavor as then you don't notice the medicine. Strawberry is bearable, but the cherry flavor does not mask the medicine at all.
For day to day medicine Children's Motrin grape flavor tastes good. You can even use Children's Motrin as an adult, the dosage amount is given by weight. My sister actually finds this stuff works better for curing a fever, for her, than adult medicine does.
The liquid technique doesn't always work since not all medicines are available in a liquid form. Sometimes you will be required to get your medicine in a pill form. At that point my solution was to chew the pill. Some were not that bad, but others tasted horrible. However I had no choice as I could not get over my fear of swallowing a pill.
So my slightly better solution was to chew on other food while chewing the pill. It wasn't perfect but it helped to mask the horrible flavor of the pills.
You can not always rely on the chewing technique. There are some pills you are not supposed to chew, as it will affect the way the medicine is administered into your system. So check with your doctor to make sure it is okay for the type of medicine that you were prescribed.
How I Am Able To Swallow a Pill Easily
When I got my wisdom teeth removed I couldn't chew, but I had to take antibiotics and pain medicine. This is when I finally found a solution that works for me. My father pointed out that I had no problem swallowing a mouth full of food, so why should I have a problem with a pill? For some people that is the solution: think of the pill as food. It is merely mind over matter and when they realize they swallow a big mouthful of food a pill shouldn't be a problem.
Well it still mattered in my mind, so I instead combined the thoughts and finally came up with my solution. Since I couldn't chew but I needed to eat something I had mashed potatoes. I scooped up a mouthful of mashed potato, when I was ready to swallow, I put the pill in with the food, and then I swallowed. Since the food is solid I don't feel/notice the pill like I do when it is taken with just water.
That is the way I take all of my pills now and I find it so much easier. I can take my pill with whatever meal I am eating. If it is something to take before bed, I will take it with some crackers or cookies. Since I no longer have to chew the pill itself, I can completely avoid the bad tasting pill issue.
Now the only time I have difficulty is when the pill is really large. That is still intimidating and sometimes they are noticeable even in food. So I have bought a pill cutter to cut any pill into a smaller and more manageable size.
Pill Splitter or Crusher
This is great for when you get a large pill prescribed for you. You can put it into this device and it will cut it into smaller pieces for you.
If even pieces are too large for you, this device will crush the pill into a powder.
The Proper Way
I have had to take pills twice in my life without food. Once before I had my wisdom teeth removed. You have to take an anti-saliva pill and you can not eat anything for 12 hours before the surgery. I was so happy that the pill was at least really tiny.
The second time was while I was in the hospital after I broke my ankle. After they got my X-rays results back they gave me pain medication and only a drink. I was able to take it, I am not sure if it was because I knew I didn't have a choice or the fact the nurse was watching me.
However when I am given the choice, I still always choose to take them with food. Since I don't hesitate or have any fear of swallowing pills when I take them that way.
There are tips and tricks that are supposed to make it easier to swallow pills without using food. There is an article from Medsafe (New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority) Helping Medicine Capsules Go Down. It gives some helpful advice for swallowing pills the proper way.