olfactory hallucinations

I occasionally experience olfactory hallucinations, vivid and undeniable smells of things which cannot possibly exist in the area I happen to be at the time. Phantom smells are known to occur as part of epileptic seizures, but I am not epileptic (no history and I have, for other reasons, been given the tests, with EEG and all). Is this phenomenon a result of the occasional random synaptic firing? I also get headaches from strobe lights (it wasn’t just the disco music). Do other non epileptics experience such things, or can there be a sort of “sub-clinical” epilepsy, or is my brain just way too sensitive?

I have read quite a few times that olfactory hallucinations sometimes accompany unsavory psychoses, most notably schizophrenia (the smell of burning rubber is one frequently cited), but can be a symptom of many brain disturbances, both clinical and psychotic. (I’ve been asked quite a few times by doctors “Have you been experiencing any strange smells recently?” but I refuse to discuss that. Heh).
The “sub-clinical” epilepsy you speak of was quite forcefully demonstrated recently in Japan, where a children’s animated show (I forget which one) featured a rhythmic pattern of flashing lights during its opening clip, and many hundreds of kids suffered symptoms ranging from nausea and disorientation (npi)
to petite mal siezures in previouly undiagnosed subjects. Flashing lights have long been known to trigger these events in epileptics and many seemingly normal people as well. I’d say see your doctor chop chop.

“You don’t have to look
And you don’t have to see
'Cause you can feel it in your
Olfactory.”
-Louden Wainwright III, Dead Skunk (in the middle of the road).

That was the Pokémon show that sent some Japanese kids to the hospital ER.

Someone told me once that if you hallucinate the smell of oranges, it means you’re going schizophrenic. Is that for real or were they pulling my leg?

Maxcat, you’re just worrying too much - it could just be that your Ist cranial nerve is affected (due to some possible trauma, maybe) and that explains the olfactory hallucinations…
The most possible explanation is that something (don’t ask me what, it’s your nose! - it could even be some allergy phenomena) is just irritating your olfactorial nerve endings and thus the hallucinations. The best solution would be - consult your local doc!!


Never bite the hand that… looks dirty!