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Olfactory Hallucinations


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I have olfactory hallucinations primarily when I am having a depressive episode.  I have told both my Tdoc and Pdoc and they  said okay, and then wrote it down.  I sorta felt like they didn't believe me, or that is wasn't a "thing".  I was never asked if I still had them or not.   I have some when manic, but really I think I have a heightened sense of smell during mania, not a hallucinated smell.

What I smelled was rot and decomposition.  Not something I run around telling my docs, its sorta gross. Anyway, recently I was reading a paper written by a Psychiatrist and what do you know my exact olfactory hallucination was there in black and white.  The paper itself was one of the best written that I have read from the Psychiatrists point of view outlining the  process of analyzing symptoms that lead to a DX.    It was me,  the paper was about me.  Not really but it described me very well. 

This is getting too long. 

I was wondering if any other Bipolar member had or has Olfactory Hallucinations?

In was state do these occur?    Manic or depressive?

What do you smell?    Manic or depressive?

Looking for a kindred spirit. 

Edited by dragonfly23
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I don't think I experience this myself, but it sounds similar to my grandmother.

She's bipolar and when she's depressed she smells all sorts of scents, usually really bad scents, which aren't there.

I don't really know any more about her experience with it, though, and she's not on this site. Sorry. :(

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This has happened to me once that I know of because I was told there was no gas leak or awful chemical spill. That's what I smelled. Chemicals. Like super strong scented chemical something or another. 

It was weird. I was ready to call the police or fire department. But my mom told me to wait til husband came home. I also told tdoc and she said gas leaks smelled like rotten egg smell. Which is not what I was smelling at all. Weird.

Husband didn't smell a thing. Very confusing. 

My mood was fine but I have SZA bipolar. So that explains that. 

I actually thought nothing of this until I saw your post about hallucinating smells. I really didn't know what to think. Had no idea it was a hallucination but I just connected the dots now and know it was just that. Very strange experience indeed. 

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13 hours ago, dragonfly23 said:

I have olfactory hallucinations primarily when I am having a depressive episode.  I have told both my Tdoc and Pdoc and they  said okay, and then wrote it down.  I sorta felt like they didn't believe me, or that is wasn't a "thing".  I was never asked if I still had them or not.   I have some when manic, but really I think I have a heightened sense of smell during mania, not a hallucinated smell.

What I smelled was rot and decomposition.  Not something I run around telling my docs, its sorta gross. Anyway, recently I was reading a paper written by a Psychiatrist and what do you know my exact olfactory hallucination was there in black and white.  The paper itself was one of the best written that I have read from the Psychiatrists point of view outlining the  process of analyzing symptoms that lead to a DX.    It was me,  the paper was about me.  Not really but it described me very well. 

This is getting too long. 

I was wondering if any other Bipolar member had or has Olfactory Hallucinations?

In was state do these occur?    Manic or depressive?

What do you smell?    Manic or depressive?

Looking for a kindred spirit. 

Yes, I smelled metal in everything and all around.  I mentioned it to my neuro (thinking it was an aura to a migraine), and he had me get an EEG because he told me it could indicate seizure activity.  NOT saying that is what you have, but that was my neuro's concern with me.

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I have an olfactory hallucination of burning wood that is considered one of my migraine auras. Just mentioning, because I can't remember whether or not you get migraines. I do not get a headache after every aura, so sometimes I just smell burning wood for a while, and that is that.

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10 hours ago, melissaw72 said:

Yes, I smelled metal in everything and all around.  I mentioned it to my neuro (thinking it was an aura to a migraine), and he had me get an EEG because he told me it could indicate seizure activity.  NOT saying that is what you have, but that was my neuro's concern with me.

 

6 hours ago, crtclms said:

I have an olfactory hallucination of burning wood that is considered one of my migraine auras. Just mentioning, because I can't remember whether or not you get migraines. I do not get a headache after every aura, so sometimes I just smell burning wood for a while, and that is that.

I do see a neuro.  For seizures and I have two brain boogers located on my right frontal lobe.  What struck me odd about the article I mentioned was the specific smell that was identified.  I smell rot everytime and no other scent. 

 I used to have migraines like the two of you.  My aura was completely visual often blinding.  Often with no headache.  

Since taking my current psych meds I have absolutely no headaches or migraines.   Its funny as I used to get headaches a lot, didn't think anything about it till they went away. 

Thanks for replying

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50 minutes ago, melissaw72 said:

dragonfly, do you mind me asking if you narrowed it down to a specific med you are on, that gets rid of headaches?

After my last seizure I was put on Lamictal by my Neuro and Seroquel by my Pdoc.  It must be one of them.  It didn't work right away, my last seizure caused a brain bleed and that takes time to heal.  At the higher doses my head aches are gone. 

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53 minutes ago, dragonfly23 said:

After my last seizure I was put on Lamictal by my Neuro and Seroquel by my Pdoc.  It must be one of them.  It didn't work right away, my last seizure caused a brain bleed and that takes time to heal.  At the higher doses my head aches are gone. 

Ok, thanks.  I'm currently on 400 mg lamictal and that doesn't seem to do one thing or the other.  Maybe the combination of the 2 meds helps.

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Latuda really helped my headaches in an "off-label" way. We couldn't find any studies that support my experience, but there was a big difference in frequency before I went onto it, and then an even bigger difference when I had to stop it. They are back, 4-6 per week. Although usually less intense, thankfully.

I hate my insurance. Along with having so few headaches (relatively) that I was almost functional, Latuda also actually brought me to baseline, but we can't afford it.

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14 hours ago, crtclms said:

Latuda really helped my headaches in an "off-label" way. We couldn't find any studies that support my experience, but there was a big difference in frequency before I went onto it, and then an even bigger difference when I had to stop it. They are back, 4-6 per week. Although usually less intense, thankfully.

I hate my insurance. Along with having so few headaches (relatively) that I was almost functional, Latuda also actually brought me to baseline, but we can't afford it.

My pdoc wants to switch me to latuda (or another med) to see if we can get rid of all the hallucinations.  But Latuda is high on the list.  Glad to know it can lessen headaches.  Thanks for mentioning that.  I know it isn't covered by your insurance, but I am hoping (as well as my pdoc) that the prior auth will go through (if we choose it).  If that happens I have a great chance of getting it.  He's still thinking about it all though.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi, a very, very understanding Kindred Spirit here!  I began having Olfactory Hallucinations, beginning at age 13.  My mom is a Registered Nurse and took me to the GP,  then was told to see an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist - saw two of them.  They did x-rays and the whole bit, they sometimes see adolescents or adults that have put something in there nose as a kid, they asked about recent dental work, etc. - NOTHING.  Years later I put together pieces and noticed that when I was 13 I began having depression episodes, and my mom and I noticed that the Olfactory Hallucinations (or whatever they were - I still didn't know a word to describe it) coincided with my depressed episodes.  The smell is like nothing really I smell in regular life, the only thing even close is like fresh spread mulch or wood mulch piles mixed with lots of nasty ROTTING smell mixed in.  Every doctor I've disclosed this too looked at me like I was crazy (I guess I am, no news there), but my current Psychiatrist understands it and told me that our suspicions were right (there was no internet in the 1980's so we couldn't look it up), and it was a complete relief that the one thing I despised "depression" was responsible for that G*d awful smell, when bad it is bad enough to either affect my taste or in completely curbing my appetite.  I think it has appeared a few times I wasn't recognizably depressed, but I wake up and there it is.  I was actually later diagnosed with Bipolar I as an adult, but the manias were always there, they were just ignored because I think it made the big, bad depressions seem so much more afllicting then bouncing off the walls, or having the time of my life that made my family happy.

My PDoc put me on Saphris (switching out Seroquel), along with my Lithium, Lamictal, Cymbalta, Xanax, - I think that's all (I haven't posted in ages on this forum, which is the only one I post on, and I had more posts before, but forgot my login and email I created when I found the site and posted more like 9 years ago and then later got a new computer and the old computer died holding that info).  Since I've been on Saphris - no bad smells (knock on wood - I'm superstitious LOL).

Just my little very long history.  I wish you the best!

J (female, BPI)

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My brain booger is in the frontal falcine line (falx=where the two sides of the brain naturally separate in the middle of your head front to back) of my brain, mostly leaning to the left.  It is still wait and watch after close to 9 years and inoperable and from there who knows?  I forgot everything, that's why I forgot to mention it in my post.  Also, about the same time I began taking Saphris (with much reluctance, have had a horrible time with almost every other atypical, but it was a good surprise), but back to the story - again - I started taking Claritin allergy pills daily per advice of my Primary MD for allergies (minor) sinuses here and there and it helps with my psoriasis to make it liveable (I believe), now I take the generic Claritin because I can't afford brand name OTC drugs either, but one or both might be worth consideration.  I've found that Lamictal (400mg) has been pretty useless to me since I began it - at first it made me feel "almost" manic and jittery and my hair fell out in handfulls.  I'm not any sort of health career person, I'm just your everyday, run of the mill BP1 diagnosed person who does unfortunately "suffer" most of the time, but trying to get through it like all other MI or BPer and Tumor "host" j/k ;)

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