- Also known as paraosmia and dysosmia. The term parosmia comes from the Greek words para (beside, near, resembling, accessory to, beyond, apart from, abnormal) and osmè (smell, stink, fragrant, odour, scent, perfume). It translates loosely as a 'false smell'. The term parosmia is used to denote an erroneous olfactory response to an existing odour, i.e. an * illusion in the olfactory modality. When odours arise in the absence ofan external olfactory stimulus, they are referred to as *phantosmia or * olfactory hallucination. Paros-mia tends to present in the form of a foul odour such as that of burning flesh, faeces, garlic, rotting fish, rotting eggs, vomit, garbage, or 'neglected laundry'. Such foul odours are also referred to as cacosmia. Parosmia may be attributable to peripheral as well as central conditions. Peripheral causes of parosmia include rhinitis, sinusitis, and other upper respiratory tract diseases, as well as chronic cocaine abuse. Central conditions include lesions or processes affecting the olfactory system, *migraine aura, and temporal lobe epilepsy. Parosmia is classified as an * olfactory illusion (i.e. a smell illusion) or as a chemosensory disorder.ReferencesAckerman, B.H., Kasbekar, N. (1997). Disturbances of taste and smell induced by drugs. Pharmacotherapy, 17, 482-496.Mauguière, F. (1999). Scope and presumed mechanisms of hallucinations in partial epileptic seizures. Epileptic Disorders, 1, 81-91.Schiffman, S.S., Gatlin, C.A. (1993). Clinical physiology of taste and smell. Annual Review of Nutrition, 13, 405-436.
Dictionary of Hallucinations. J.D. Blom. 2010.