Many Delusional About Smelling Bad
Researchers Say Olfactory Reference Syndrome Is Vastly Under-Recognized
Two-Thirds Think About Suicide continued...
If someone thinks they suffer from the condition, they should seek psychiatric help, she says.
"We're not clear what treatment is best, but selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be helpful," she says.
SSRIs work by blocking a receptor in the brain that absorbs a chemical called serotonin that is known to influence mood. They’re commonly used to treat depression and other mood disorders.
Phillips says olfactory reference syndrome is not an actual diagnosis in the current version of DSM-IV, the bible of psychiatry, although it is mentioned under the heading of psychoses.
For the new version of DSM-V, which is expected by 2013, doctors want to add an appendix of disorders for which further research is needed, so "we can have an agreed-upon definition," Phillips says.
There are no good figures on how common the condition is, but one Japanese study showed that more than 2% of college students were concerned about having strange body odors.
"But we can’t assume that translates to olfactory reference syndrome," she says.
Jeffrey Borenstein, MD, chairman of the APA's communication council and medical director of Holliswood Hospital in Queens, N.Y., tells WebMD he never heard of the condition until Phillips presented her research.
"It sounds very debilitating; we need a lot more research," says Borenstein, who moderated the news briefing.
This study was presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.