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Sense of Smell

These are descriptions of how individuals experienced various symptoms during withdrawal. While everyone's withdrawal is unique and symptoms will be different for everyone, it may be useful to know what others went through.

All withdrawal symptoms can be caused by things in addition to withdrawal. If a symptom is persistent or you are worried by it, it is always a good idea to get it checked out by your doctor to ensure nothing else is going on.


Definition: (n) The sense by which odors are perceived; the olfactory sense.


What I've Felt:

"You feel like your nostrils are under constant attack. Sensitive to any odor, even ones imperceptible to others, you'll have an immediate like/dislike reaction to every aroma. Most smells, in fact, become pointedly unpleasant; and many, especially chemical smells such as those given off by cleaning products, shampoo, soaps, automobiles, electronics, etc. may seem completely toxic."

"I've felt like my nose, more than ever, is actually my ally. Yes, it tortures me by holding an olfactory magnifying glass up to each and every scent. But right now, it is also letting me know which things my system does and does not tolerate -- information that will be useful long after this withdrawal has ended.

I worked on a construction site for a month, the second month after I stopped benzos, and was surrounded by wood all day. The treated wood -- particle board, sheets of plywood -- nearly made me dry-heave. But the natural wood smelled nicer ... soothing, somehow.

Dairy products, especially yogurt and cheese, smelled like spoiled milk: a sort of cloying, creamy odor with undertones of festering rubbish. One night I rubbed a dab of organic sleep ointment, something I had been using pre-withdrawal syndrome without a problem, under my nose. I almost vomited. And, as would seem obvious, using the bathroom and picking up after my dog, Clyde, became odious tasks best postponed until absolutely necessary.

I also have great difficulty stepping into convenience stores, which smell like roasted almonds mixed with burning tires. And certain carpeted areas, especially if they've been recently steam-cleaned or shampooed, smell like molasses.

When I sweat, I reek of feet and acid and locker rooms. And no matter how much I shower, I still smell a bit like a monkey house." - Matt


My Coping Strategies

bullet Acceptance
bulletAvoid smells that set you off. Don't put anything in your mouth that your nose doesn't like.



Disclaimer:  The information contained in this website was not compiled by a doctor or anyone with medical training. The advice contained herein should not be substituted for the advice of a physician who is well-informed in the subject matter discussed. Before making any decisions about your health or treatment you should always confer with your physician and it is always assumed that you will do so.

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Last updated 21 July 2020