Olfactory disorders are believed to affect 5% of the general population and have been shown to bear significant psychosocial consequences to sufferers. Although more common than blindness and profound deafness in the United Kingdom, the impact of these disorders has not been assessed to date and the plight of British patients has yet to be quantified. In 2012, a patient support organization, Fifth Sense, was founded to provide information and support to sufferers of chemosensory disorders. Following a recent members conference, a survey of the membership was conducted anonymously using a series of questions based on an existing olfactory disorders questionnaire. From 496 respondents, this has demonstrated high rates of depression (43%) and anxiety (45%), impairment of eating experience (92%), isolation (57%), and relationship difficulties (54%). Women appear to have significantly more issues than men in terms of social and domestic dysfunction relating to olfactory loss (P = 0.01). Qualitative disorders also affected more than 1 in 5 members with parosmia reported in 19% and phantosmia in 24%. This paper discusses the details of the British story of anosmia and other related disorders as depicted by those most affected.
Keywords: anosmia; hyposmia; parosmia; phantosmia; quality of life.
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