Kakosmia experts call very rare olfactory illusions, that perception plays with a person in “interesting” games – changes smells, and, as a rule, in a negative direction. That is, familiar and pleasant smells, illusory take a sharply disgusting character (in a broader sense, the word kakosmia means any unpleasant smell). In medicine and psychology the term “kakosmia” (still, dysosmia, parosmia) denotes a kind of affective illusion – distortion, imaginary smells, a peculiar disruption of the sense of smell under the influence of stress, excitement, fears, sudden change of situation, etc.
However, almost all specialists note two important factors, firstly, this phenomenon, unfortunately, has not been practically studied (neither its nature nor the correct diagnosis) to this day, and, secondly, it is hardly distinguishable from olfactory hallucinations (sometimes in general, with them Lebanon).
In addition, the emergence of illusions of smell often arises from natural medical reasons unrelated to the human psyche, resulting from common diseases – caries, chronic tonsillitis, sinusitis in chronic or acute form, various pathological conditions of the gastrointestinal tract.
At the same time, from the point of view of psychiatrists and psychologists, the causes of olfactory illusions or hallucinations (the unpleasant smell of mold, vinegar, putrefaction, etc.) lie in the pathology area, and talk about the erroneous irritation of the receptors as a result of the emerging pathological process in the cortical olfactory projection area . And, first of all, about the violation of the hook of the gypsy para-hippocampal, responsible for the formation of some behavioral moments associated with the area of emotions and instincts.
Olfactory illusions (or hallucinations) can also arise as a result of a partial epileptic fit, since the appearance of olfactory agnosias (in this case, illusions), the appearance of a process of disrupting the recognition of a previously known smell, are directly related to focal, bilateral processes lying in zone of the hippocampus.
It can not be overlooked that olfactory impairments often arise in the course of various diseases that are not related to nervous system damage, such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, scleroderma, Paget’s disease, etc.
General practitioners well-known cases of the appearance of parosmia, the manifestation of unusual imaginary sensations, olfactory illusions during exposure to standard olfactory stimuli in inflammatory nasopharyngeal lesions, during the recovery of a decreased olfaction).
The phenomenon of olfactory illusions is described by physicians as the fact that after the catarrhal (especially viral) diseases the possibility of smelling sharply decreases, but before the disease (during the incubation period) there is always a phenomenon of hyperosmia (a sharp increased olfactory sensitivity).
Doctors call the cause of acute olfaction at the beginning of the disease a kind of compensatory affect of consciousness, provoking the search for the necessary funds for recovery.
In the event that a person’s sense of smell is broken, only one sensation arises – the taste, and the usual perception registers only 4 main types of taste – sweet and salty, bitter and sour, and all the specific subtleties peculiar to the taste of various foods , disappear, because they are associated with the smell.
With a strong rhinitis, taste and olfactory illusions can involuntarily arise simultaneously – the onion has a sweet taste, but smells like an apple. An amazing fact is that after a cold (especially viral) diseases, the sense of smell is sharply reduced, but on the eve of the disease (during the incubation period) hyperosmia always occurs.
As a rule, odor distortion and olfactory illusions arise completely unexpectedly, suddenly perception changes, and a person begins to smell burning in the scent of citrus (a frequent case) or a taste of sulfur in sharp odorous spices. Simultaneously with the distortion (illusion) of the olfactory perception, taste illusions appear.
Phenomena of illusory perception of odors are also called chemoreceptor anesthesia (blunting) or hyperesthesia (exacerbation), they can occur at different times, some periodically (at the beginning of the menstrual cycle, after a craniocerebral trauma, a severe nervous shock).
And the periods when a person tries to stop taking alcohol, using drugs, smoking (or starving), are characterized by sharp distortions, illusions of smell, many people have to learn to re-perceive previously familiar smells.
On the other hand, the fact that many experts believe that smell refers to the concepts of reality, as it contains molecules that affect olfactory analyzers-receptors that can cause an “answer”, speaks of the fact that the phenomenon of illusions of smell is not studied. consciousness, but at the same time at the level of the passage of the biochemical reaction.
This is a rather interesting theory, but just like all theories about the appearance of olfactory illusions, it is controversial. And, nevertheless, there are a lot of examples proving that illusions of smells arise in absolutely healthy people mentally and without therapeutic deviations of people.
For example, there are a large number of people who determine the smell of salt in food. Although, as you know, salt is a product that does not smell, however, the consciousness of these people is so “targeted” to feel it, what it feels.
There are concepts – “the smell of fear”, “the smell of hatred,” and, despite the fact that doctors treat them as a special smell of sweat emitted by a person in a stressful condition, psychologists call this phenomenon the illusion of smell.
In essence, the olfactory analyzer (receptors) is a complex of complex sensory structures responsible for the perception, transportation and analysis of odors falling into the nasal passages, while inextricably linked with the taste sensations. However, the very nature of odors can provoke the appearance of illusory sensations, that is, the phenomenon of olfactory illusions.
The complex process of mistaken perceptions of olfactory sensations (olfactory illusions) is connected, to a large extent, not with the natural smell emanating from the source, but with the current state of human health (we are not talking about mental deviations).
And also, with the individual features of physiology (not without reason there are “sniffers”, people with an extremely developed sense of smell), memory and emotions, associations, including the consequences of injuries, the ability to make inferences, erudition.
Psychologists very often encounter this phenomenon when they are approached by people who say that a well-known and pleasant substance yesterday (perfume, deodorant, soap) smells “wrong” and gives an example of their own research.
These people were offered to smell the “right” colognes at first (they agreed that it was so), and then to choose from several absolutely identical colognes that (labeled), which smelled “wrong”, in 99 out of 100 cases they chose unlabelled.
This is a vivid example of the olfactory illusion provoked by the concrete state of a person at that particular moment (suffered recently by shock, resentment, disappointment, etc.).
Psychologists assert that a person perceives smells in two ways – natural real, and imaginary – areal, since any smell causes in the mind associative images associated with past events.
This is especially true of the smells and sounds of music, these two phenomena can change the existing reality for a person, replacing it in the mind (and, therefore, in the perception) with memories from the past, and cause the olfactory illusion.
Sense of smell, like no other is connected with the human psyche. With the help of some “bright” and memorable smells, you can manipulate the mind of a person. In addition, with the help of the smell, psychologists manage to change the mood of a person, his intentions and deeds.
Phenomena, illusions or weakening of the sense of smell may not appear for a long time, and arise gradually, in a perfectly healthy person under certain conditions – in cases of frequent alcohol abuse, at a time of severe stress, depression, during a heavy pregnancy, during the menopause, when taking drugs and as a side effect when taking certain medicines.
Any olfactory illusions are a deceptive sensation that can, unfortunately, easily pass from the form of ordinary distortions to painful olfactory illusions and hallucinatory olfactory images.