Olfactory Reference Syndrome: A Case Report and Screening Tool

Yelena Chernyak, Kristine M. Chapleau, Shariff F. Tanious, Natalie C. Dattilo, David R. Diaz, Sarah A. Landsberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Olfactory reference syndrome (ORS) is a lesser known disorder that is related to obsessive–compulsive disorder. ORS is the obsessional and inaccurate belief that one is emitting a foul odor leading to embarrassment or concern about offending others, excessive hygiene behaviors, and social avoidance that significantly interferes with daily functioning. Although ORS is rare, it is challenging to diagnose. ORS-sufferers first seek treatment from non-psychiatric providers (e.g., dermatologists, dentists.) to alleviate the perceived odor, which frequently leads to misdiagnosis and unnecessary treatments. Additionally, because ORS-sufferers can have limited insight and ideas of reference, they can be misdiagnosed as having a psychotic or delusional disorder. We present a case report of a 42-year-old woman with ORS, and how the correct diagnosis of ORS provided with psychiatric treatment led to significant improvement in her daily functioning. We provide a literature review on the disorder as well as a short screener to assess ORS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • Anxiety disorders
  • Delusional disorders
  • Ethics
  • Jikoshu-kyofu
  • Obsessive–compulsive disorder
  • Olfactory reference syndrome
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Taijin-kyofu

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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