Olfactory functioning in panic disorder

Emma Burón, Antonio Bulbena, Andrea Bulbena-Cabré

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V. Background The olfactory function in panic disorder (PD) has been scarcely approached in the literature. The purpose of this paper is to study this question by focusing on the olfactory sensitivity (i.e. detection threshold), the reactivity to odors, and the odor awareness in patients suffering from PD. Methods 41 patients with PD and 41 healthy controls performed Sniffin' Sticks Test (threshold subtest) and completed the Affective Impact of Odors scale (AIO), the Relational Scale of Olfaction (EROL) and the Odor Awareness Scale (OAS). Clinical symptoms rating scales were concurrently obtained. Results PD patients showed lower olfactory detection thresholds (i.e. higher sensitivity) along with an enhanced reactivity to odors as well as a greater olfactory awareness compared to the healthy controls. The severity of PD was significantly associated with the olfactory questionnaires ratings, but not with the detection ability. Olfactory measures were intercorrelated in most cases. Limitations i) The results of the olfactory sensitivity are limited to one odorant (phenyl ethyl alcohol) and thus may not be generalizable to other odorants. ii) As comorbid Axis II disorders were not screened, it is not possible to exclude the influence of personality traits in our results. iii) The involvement of the medications in some olfactory outcomes cannot be ruled out. Conclusion The current findings highlight the importance of the olfactory function in PD as patients appeared to be highly sensitive, reactive and aware of odors. These results are discussed in the light of the common neural substrates involved in the olfactory processing and in the pathophysiology of PD, and also related to the clinical features of this disorder.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-298
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Odor awareness
  • Olfactory reactivity
  • Olfactory threshold
  • Panic disorder


Dive into the research topics of 'Olfactory functioning in panic disorder'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this