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Anxiety & the Throat

By Eshe Asale ; Updated August 14, 2017

When you become anxious, you may experience a variety of physical symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, sweaty palms, shakiness, nausea and shortness of breath. You may even feel as though you are choking, or have a lump in your throat, finding it hard to swallow or speak. Such symptoms can cause you to panic, which may increase anxiety.

Globus Hystericus

Globus hystericus, a Latin term meaning "lump in the throat," was first recognized by Sigmund Freud and is thought to be triggered by anxiety and emotional distress. According to a 2003 article on the Nexium Research website, patients with globus hystericus experience a higher rate of anxiety disorders and depression. This condition can be triggered by a difficulty in expressing or revealing your true feelings. The sensation of a lump in the throat can make swallowing pills and eating and drinking difficult and may feel worse in the evening.

Psychosomatic Disorder

Globus hystericus is categorized as a psychosomatic disorder, meaning it’s a physical condition stemming from psychological issues. It can cause a great amount of stress and frustration, because even though the pain and discomfort are real, you may be told after undergoing numerous tests that there is nothing physically wrong. If you have the sensation of a blockage in your throat, consult your doctor for a diagnosis to rule out possible physical disorders such as acid reflux or throat cancer.

Congested Throat Chakra

Eastern healing systems evaluate illness and disease by assessing the seven main chakras, or energy centers. Whenever a patient experiences the sensation of having a lump in the throat, or ailments such as tonsillitis, laryngitis or excessive mucous, the throat chakra is described as being congested or blocked. According to a 2008 article on It’sEntirelyNatural.com, the throat chakra is the hub of communication and inspiration. Any blockages in this area can cause difficulty in self-expression and creativity. This theory correlates with Freud’s globus hystericus hypothesis, where the psychosomatic sensation of the lump in the throat relates to anxiety, emotional repression and an inability to speak your truth.


If you have been diagnosed with globus hystericus, your doctor may put you on a course of antidepressants to treat symptoms of depression and anxiety. The doctor may also refer you to a psychotherapist to give you the opportunity to express your feelings and emotions and uncover the root cause of your depression or anxiety.

Acupuncture Therapy

A 2007 article published by the Times Online highlighted the experience of a former globus hystericus sufferer. The writer, who had tried psychotherapy to treat her condition, found relief upon completing a course of acupuncture, although there is little evidence to support the success rate. A 2008 article on the Traditional Chinese Medicine Advisory website cites globus hystericus as stemming from mental depression and dysfunction of the liver, which is unable to distribute energy and mucus throughout the body.

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