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Ask Dr. Ed Wilfong Your Own Question

Dr. Ed Wilfong
Dr. Ed Wilfong, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience:  Twenty-five years treating all ages; Specialities: psychopharmacology & diagnosis, MMPI-2, testing.
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Im after advice as whenever the following could be classed

Resolved Question:

Im after advice as whenever the following could be classed a hallucination, and whenever I may be suffering from Schizophrenia? Is the following a typical hallucination, or is it just too specific and strange?! I suffer from OCD / GAD, and have had a fear of being Schizophrenic / Bipolar for some time now.

I keep getting a strange chemical ‘whiff’ on my left hand at work, it smells like a paraffin type waxy smell (I work in the Jobcentre) this has happened maybe 6 or 7 times over the past 6 months – I think when this happens I am normally quite stressed at the time (Lack of sleep due to anxiety / ocd – although I normally am 24/7) I think I am stressed before this? Or maybe it comes after due to this?...im not sure...

I can not pin point where the smell is coming from, and it only occurs on my left hand?! it does seem to spread to my pocket or clothing if I rub it on my hand (If that makes sense?!) I have retraced my steps just after the smell appears, and can not for the life of me identify where it is coming from…I look crazy sat at my desk sniffing my coat etc to try and find out. It sends me into a panic, sets my anxiety off, and makes me feel awful, like im going crazy.

I’m convinced it could be a hallucination, and a sign of Schizophrenia or Bipolar? Its just I cant prove or disprove if its real!? It only happens in work…

The smell gradually disappears throughout the day…and leaves me feeling confused after…now I just don’t know if its real or not, and there’s no way for me to find out? Does this sound like a hallucination as such? Its just if it is...how can it only be on one hand? I know im asking for reassurance…but I don’t know what to do…its driving me crazy.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

I wish I could give you conclusive answer. It is not likely bi-polar.

Customer:

What about Schizophrenia? I think thats my main fear

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

What you are having, if it is psychiatric, is an olfactory (smell) hallucination. Some schizophenics do have them, but it is very rare.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

You could have these and it need not be psychiatric. May be stress reaction or an obscure environmental cause.

Customer:

Its just I cant be sure/unsure if it is or not? I just fear the worse that it is, I mean having an olfactory (smell) hallucination on 1 hand only? Does this sound reasonable? Or not would you say?

Customer:

thats what i was hoping it would be

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

Olfactory hallucinations are very rare.

Customer:

or hopefully just an external smell, but its driving me mad, the uncertainty of not knowing ><

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

The pattern of it is suspicious, i.e. sound too specific to be schizophrenic.

Customer:

as in it sounds unlikely?

Customer:

I know I am reassurance seeking now

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

It may be part of your OCD, when overly stressed you get this odd pattern of smell. It may be a little mental disorganization slipping through as the pettern seems OCD.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

How old are you?

Customer:

31

Customer:

I have seen a Pdoc and been diagnosed OCD / GAD, a fear of schizophrenia and bipolar is one of my main obsessions

Customer:

im always questioning what I see of hear

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

This is getting a little old for schizophrenia to start.

Customer:

or*

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

This fear may be contributing to this, a lot.

Customer:

I think so also, I cant stop myself worrying and before I know it, im googling 'schizpophrenia' and 'olfactory hallucinations'

Customer:

and then it just staerts a snowball effect

Customer:

starts*

Customer:

and because there is no definite way to find out if I am smelling this smell or not...im stuck in a ryt, and here I am now!

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

You also can have "benign hallucinations" and not be schizophrenic. As you get stress your defenses break down and you worst fears seem to come true.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

I don't believe you would obsess like this if it were schizophrenia.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

Olfactory hallunications would be more constant and you would like not have any doubt.

Customer:

So would you say from what I have said, that it would be unlikely to be Schizophrenia? Given all the info?

Customer:

So no insight, I would believe them to actually be real and not doubt

Customer:

or obsess

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

the more I hear, the more it sounds like OCD symptoms, not schizophrenia

Customer:

I guess im showing typical reassurance seeking, its just I cant stop worrying, its a living nightmare! But thankyou for all of your answers today

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

I just think it would more clearly hallucination and persistant. Like hearing voices, you know it is unreal.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

I need to mention one more thing....

Customer:

all I would like to add is would this change anything? One other thing I experience, is random memory flashbacks during the day also, and food flashbacks if that makes sense, i dont 'taste' the food, just imagine it? could these be intrusive thoughts?

Customer:

yes sorry..

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

Sometime olfactory hallucinations are neurological, so you may want to check with neurology. Again, it sounds OCD and I don't want to contribute to fears as both neurological and schizophrenia show like this would be very rare, especially given the intrusive nature of this and the fact your OCD has "chosen this to focus on. I really believe it is part of OCD.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

I also think neurological is more likely than schizophrenia, but seriously doubt if it is either.

Customer:

Thanks Dr, I didnt expect such a thorough answer, you have been really helpful

Customer:

Do i press accept now? Havent done this before

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

yes, the memory flashes sound like random or intrusive thoughts

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

Yes, I would appreciate that.

Customer:

Thanks again, have a nice evening :D

Dr. Ed Wilfong, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience: Twenty-five years treating all ages; Specialities: psychopharmacology & diagnosis, MMPI-2, testing.
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