Phantom smells, paranoid delusions. Any advice? - AgingCare.com

Phantom smells, paranoid delusions. Any advice?

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My wife thinks the next door neighbor is throwing bleach at the house, at other times she smells gasoline or thinks that they are throwing oil at the house.

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I agree that some people have a heightened sense of smell, either naturally or caused by medications or illness. However, it seems paranoid to think that neighbors are throwing chemicals at the house.

I'd would take her to a doctor for an overall checkup and alert the doctor ahead of time by mail that a referral to a neurologist may be necessary.

I wouldn't mention this to your wife. Leave suspected dementia out of the discussion because she may balk. There are many types of dementia, and some first present symptoms of paranoia or personality change. Only a doctor skilled in diagnosing different types of dementia would be likely to get it right. There are different approaches to treating different types of dementia, so this is important.

We can hope that your wife's problems are caused by an infection or some medication that she's taking. This is entirely possible. However, it she is cleared of these issues, then she needs a neurological workup.

Please update us as you find out more.
Carol
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My mother has had similar experience and these are linked to the onset of dementia in her case
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Smells are interesting triggers. Some people can pick up on odours in a specific location that others can't (a good example of house smells - my brother and sister says our apartment stinks, but I don't smell anything except stale air and second hand smoke from other apartments (which I have not control over). My point is, before you jump to the conclusion that it's hallucination, is there any chemical product in your household that might give off a smell of gasoline or amonia or other bleach vapour - even hydrogen pyroxide bleach has a distinct smell if you use enough of it. Do you have a gas stove? I can smell gas from those ranges to the point where it makes me sick, when no one else can smell it.

Another thing to look for is sudden hypersensitivity to chemicals/smells. I have multiple chemical sensitivity and one day I had a very bad cold and ironically was on my way to the walk in clinic when, upon opening the door, I was overcome by this powerful chemical smell that gave me trouble breathing. I thought it was something someone was using in the building. When I when outside the smell was worse, and I couldn't draw air into my lungs. Everyone appeared "normal". I went into the drug store and casually asked about the smell and a staff member said the city was cleaning the underground pipes. However, anyone else (even I was beginning to wonder) would think I was hallucinating.
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I too have a sensitivity to smells. I found out when I quit smoking back in the early 80's.things smell better.
Even my daughter says she can too.
Certain perfumes , body or dish soaps and shampoos will give me a headache-,especially those with fruit in them. I can smell our propane tank(Gas) when its out or leaking Smells like a dead rat. yes dead rat- I tell the gas people and they say it's the stuff put in it -and your not smelling gas just the stuff-WELL-
praise the Lord I smell something. stuff.
anyway- do have her see someone- just to ease her mind- let her know thats what your doing - she needs to be BELIEVED if nothing else- ,
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Have you spoken to her doctor about this? Does your wife have any medical diagnoses? Smelling things that aren't there is a symptom, and should be reported to her doctor.
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Get to a psychiatrist or neurologist to have her diagnosed properly. She definitely needs help.
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My husband lost his sense of smell with the stroke, but the "seeing things" about drove both of us nutty. When he began seeing snakes and bugs, I reported it to the doctor as he wouldn't let me sleep for chasing them off. He gave him haloperidol and it certainly helped. My daughter even "hit the bugs on the ceiling" with a swiffer mop. However, the drug didn't help the obsession that someone was stealing his car....just reassurance that we had it under control....locked and in the locked garage. Just another bump in the road. Bless you and hugs.
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I have experienced problems with overwhelming sense of smell of fire when taking strong painkillers for a period of time. If it is not related to medication, it may be a mental issue. All the best to you;
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My sister was having olfactory hallucinations (Phantosmia) a few years ago which were attributed to her OCD. They eventually stopped. Mayo Clinic says they can be caused by a previous "head injury or upper respiratory infection. It can also be caused by temporal lobe seizures, inflamed sinuses, brain tumors and Parkinson's disease."
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I remember seeing once on tv that a person had the same symptoms brought on by a seizure. There's more information that might be helpful here, but of course I recommend seeing a doctor. Good luck!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantosmia
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