Dysphagia pp 191-197 | Cite as

Psychiatric Aspects of Dysphagia

  • Margareta Bülow
Part of the Medical Radiology book series (MEDRAD)


Dysphagia with a psychiatric background is a rare condition, not so well understood, and presents with no structural or organic disease being detectable. Fear of swallowing and avoidance of swallowing specific foods, fluids, or pills seem to be the most frequent symptoms in psychogenic dysphagia, and may result in malnutrition and weight loss. When psychogenic dysphagia is suspected, a thorough swallowing evaluation is necessary, involving clinical as well as instrumental examinations. A multidisciplinary approach is required. Professionals from the fields of neurology, otolaryngology, speech–language pathology, radiology, and gastroenterology may be involved. The diagnosis of psychogenic dysphagia should, to avoid misdiagnosis, be reserved for patients with strong psychological symptoms and fear of swallowing. The most effective treatment of psychogenic dysphagia seems to be a combination of psychological treatment and dysphagia therapy. Antianxiety medications may be effective in some cases. Close collaboration between the dysphagia clinician and psychologists is necessary for the optimal management.


Conversion Disorder Language Pathology Esophageal Contraction Instrumental Examination Esophageal Dysfunction 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg  2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurological Department and Diagnostic Centre of Imaging and Functional MedicineSkåne University HospitalMalmöSweden

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