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Olfactory Reference Syndrome

By Katharine A. Phillips, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Assistant Attending Psychiatrist, Weill Cornell Medical College; New York-Presbyterian Hospital
Dan J. Stein, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cape Town

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Patient Education

Olfactory reference syndrome is an example of an other specified obsessive-compulsive and related disorder (see Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)). Patients with this disorder are preoccupied with a distressing or impairing belief that they emit a foul or offensive body odor, which is not perceived by others. The preoccupation is usually accompanied by repetitive behaviors (eg, smelling themselves, excessive showering).