View Full Version : ADHD improves your sense of smell?

The ADHD Fan
09-30-08, 06:52 PM
There was an article ( anel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum) that came out last week in the Journal of Biological Psychiatry that mentioned that individuals with ADHD have a greater odor sensitivity than the general population. Take a look ( anel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum). It also mentioned that the use of stimulant medications negates this effect. Yet another possible reason why ADHD was a useful survival tool to our ancestors, they could probably smell other creatures and hazardous substances better than the general population. Anyone with ADHD notice a difference in your sense of smell before and after taking Ritalin? The article is titled "Improved Odor Sensitivity in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder ( anel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum)".

10-04-08, 01:42 AM
lol that could be a good reason why I'm picky about some foods, but generally i dont notice that I have a better sense of smell more than people. I've noticed at times my sense of smell is better on meds- but hey i'm out of it usually or have a slow reaction to it, so I figured that is why.

01-05-09, 11:29 PM
i have a better sense of smell than anyone i know of. i smell gas leaks before anyone (when they come to fix it they say it was such a small amount that they couldn't believe someone picked up the smell). perfume smells terrible to me... they are always so stinky and overpowering to me.... so i believe it for sure. :)

(i don't take meds tho)

The ADHD Fan
02-17-09, 08:57 PM
I just got a chance to read the whole thing, and found that individuals with ADHD might have a better sense of smell as far as detecting small traces of specific odors, but as far as being able to identify and distinguish between different smells, they were worse at it than their non-ADHD peers. It's also interesting to note that only ADHD children had a heightened odor sensitivity, and that adults with ADHD apparently do not. They think that the part of the brain involved in this strange connection between ADHD and sense of smell may be the orbitofrontal region (

02-19-09, 04:07 PM
that makes sense, i notice the sent of peanuts in certain hair products, i had a candle that smelled like a chemical used in candy... people never know what i'm smelling, but i just can't get past the odd trace of something else... what you found is pretty cool, thnx fan, it all makes sense to me now. :)

02-19-09, 05:43 PM
I never had a sense of smell...

02-19-09, 05:55 PM
Here's a paragraph from a book I'm reading;
"Some research has been done that links stimulants (any, including cocaine, PCP, and amphetamine) to increased sensation and in some cases olfactory hallucinations.

These things are characteristic of but do not necessarily indicate 'uncinate seizures', a form of temporal-lobe epilepsy. Usually the experience is quite specific, but occassionally there is an intensification of smell, a hyperosmia.

The uncus, phylogenetically part of the ancient 'smell-brain' (or rhinencephalon), is functionally associated with the whole limbic system, which is increasingly recognised to be crucial in determining and regulating the entire emotional 'tone'.

Excitation of this, by whatever means, produces heightened emotionalism and an intensification of the senses. The entire subject, has been explored in great detail by David Bear et al (1979)"

A famous case of stimulants giving the user a heightened sense of smell is the renound physician and author Oliver Sacks, who wrote an account of his experience is his book 'The man who mistook his wife for a hat', he wrote the account under the pseudonym of 'Stephen S' but later admitted that it was himself that he had written about.
Oliver Sacks also wrote 'Awakenings' from which the oscar-nominated movie was inspired.


02-24-09, 02:02 PM
This is fascinating. My youngest stepdaughter who has a milder version of the ADD that fills her family, has this SMELLING thing! And I've looked for years to identify it. It's a sensory disorder of some sort, and I'd never considered it part of ADD.

What I noticed when I came into the family, and no one else had, is that she has to smell everything. I mean.. if she pets the cat you see her quickly move her fingers up to her nose to smell it. She does the same with lots of things she touches. A few times, when she was little, I saw her do that and also taste her fingers. Right now she's having issues with not being able to keep her fingers out of her mouth (i.e. nail biting, etc.) and I was finally able to get her to stop sucking her thumb at 8 years old! Apparently her mother's hairdresser told her that it will damage her forever if they try to make her stop sucking her thumb before she's ready. Yeah.. 8 years old. i gave her new skills to substitute the sucking, and it worked. But of course years of expensive orthodontia came later because of the years of having a thumb in her mouth.

But the sense of smell and taste has been an issue her whole life. I thought she was OCD, but it's more of a sensory issue. This smell and taste has also led to an unhealthy food obsession, but we've been working on that as well and she's doing better.

02-26-09, 12:52 AM
This smell and taste has also led to an unhealthy food obsession, but we've been working on that as well and she's doing better.Interesting. What type of unhealthy food obsession does she have?

07-30-10, 04:39 AM
Interesting. I have the best sense of smell of anyone I've ever met. I can smell anything and it often distracts and bothers me. Thumb sucking until I was too old as well, fyi.

07-30-10, 07:17 AM
Not I. After I quit smoking, I (of course) noticed an improvement of my sense of smell, but I'm still not the first one to notice almost any smell. I also mistake the smells of many other things for the smell of peanuts or potatoes.

07-30-10, 09:01 AM
my sense of smell is way above average.

i can smell the food and know if i will like it or not. long time since i don't bother tasting, smell is enough to pass or fail the test

strong smells (for me) can get me really sick. others around don't seem that bothered

i get this instinct repulsive reaction to many people's natural smell, even if they just had a shower and there should be no problem. this causes me quite a pain cause i do seem very rude by keeping the distance when i need to talk to people. and i can't explain that they smell, can i?

couple of minutes in the petrol station to fill up the car also make me sick. i hate going there.

08-30-10, 01:37 PM
I was only diagnosed with ADD 3 weeks ago, and DH has it too, and we both have very good noses. Sorry if this is too personal, but my sense of smell gets even stronger a few days before my period.

I don't like onions, and DH loves them. I will not kiss him if he has eaten them, even a day after, because I think I still smell them.

08-30-10, 02:18 PM
I was just reading a thread here ( about those who have Sensory Processing Disorder and how it may be linked to neurological Disorders like ADHD and Autism/Asperger's.

or click here:

08-14-13, 04:43 AM
Wow. I have always been very sensitive to odors. I never thought that ADHD could be the reason for it.

I love garlic. The smell, the taste, love it. BUT...if I can smell it only faintly, it drives me nuts. If I smell it on someone, I literally have to keep myself from vomiting.

I used to get quite upset with my ex when he would wear cologne. I asked him nicely not to wear it, but he insisted that women always like a man to wear cologne. I guess me and my silly female pea brain just had no idea. I actually broke up with him because of the smell. There were other issues, too but that was the biggest.

I work as a home care worker. I assist people with hygiening. It doesn't bother me at all. A client got some saliva on me once and the smell turned my stomach. It was all I could smell for the rest of the day.

08-14-13, 11:47 AM
could my childhood long passion of sniffing candles finally be explained? ironic given ive got allergies