My son who is only 8 has for the past 3 years had bad problems swallowing food. His throat has been checked several times, and there's nothing wrong physically.
It started after a choking episode when he was 5, following which he suddenly was unable to swallow. He could eat only liquids for several months (soup, protein drinks, smoothies)whilst we painstakingly followed an eating plan found on a great ormond street website (for children with a similar problem). We re-introduced solids and textured foods bit by bit, almost a crumb at a time, like weaning a baby. After around six months he could eat soft foods like potatos and bread, but it took almost a year before getting back to near normal. Since then he has a couple of set-backs a year, the problem returns and we have to begin again.
Hes seen an NHS child psychologist who had no helpful suggestions at all, several doctors who pretty much dismiss the problem, saying he is not underweight (hes normal weight an height as we are careful to get nutrition into him somehow!). I now feel pretty much on my own with this.
Right now hes in the middle of another episode which began in early July. Really at my wits end to help him. He sits and frowns and hunches his shoulders, goes so tense, swishes the food til its liquid then eventually with much head holding and grimacing gulps it down. It just took him over 1 hour to eat one sausage and some sliced potatoes..He says his throat feels tight, that the food gets stuck, he drinks a lot of water to try and dislodge what he feels is stuck. He will often cry because hes so hungry and he cant eat what used to be a favourite meal. (like roast dinners!) 'Magically' ;) the problem goes away almost instananeously when faced with a cake or bar of chocolate. Its obviously subconscious triggers that do this, he has 'safe' foods like jacket potatoes and cheese that he can eat which dont trigger the problem, but give him a carrot and he cant do it..
Its so so sad to see him struggle. He trys so hard to do it. People often say to me that he is trying to manipulate me to get his own way, or use food as a weapon, but this is clearly not the case. As a former panic disorder and anxiety sufferer, i know how our brains can trick us, how certain situations can trigger subconscious physical symptoms etc. I guess anxiety issues run in our family. I know all this - i beat my own panic attacks through knowledge and acceptance (the claire weekes method) but i can't help my son!!
Has anyone been through anything like this? Or know of a good private childs therapist in the UK? I badly need help as hes suffering with every meal, but don't know where to turn. we tried an NLP/hypnothereapist, but he's far too much of an active kid to sit still! Apart from this problem he's a lovely, confident, funny, outgoing, very chatty and physically active boy.
Please help if you can, its been 3 years and im losing patience and hope
Im an old member who's back to get involved again - i used to be just plain 'haze', but lost all my login details!