People Who Think They Stink May Have Mental Disorder 'Olfactory Reference Syndrome'

"We will purposely have them eat foods that they are afraid of eating for fear of having bad breath, and then have them engage in conversation with people or approach people," said Corboy. "Likewise, when we get clients who have obsessions with other parts of the body. I will have clients purposefully exercise and then not shower and engage in social activities."

After the "exposure," ORS suffers try not to revert to their compulsive behaviors of showering, brushing their teeth, asking for reassurance that they don't smell or avoiding people altogether.

Corboy said antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can help treatment.

Because ORS is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders -- the so-called "Bible" of therapists -- Corboy said many doctors aren't even aware of the disorder.

"It's pretty rare in my experience in terms of how many people come in for treatment," said Corboy. "But the flip side is it's probably more common than we think because they go to great lengths to cover up the smell and avoid people."

Often the lack of awareness isolates people suffering from ORS even further.

Olfactory Reference Syndrome is Rarely Studied

"A lot of people live with these disorders think that no treatment could possibly work," said Keri Brown, a behavior therapist with the Houston OCD Program.

While there aren't enough statistics to estimate how many people suffer from ORS, Brown said new reports on the disorder should actually give people hope.

"It's important to know that it's more common than people realize and to seek help," said Brown.

People who think they may have olfactory reference syndrome can click HERE to take an online test set up by the OCD Center of Los Angeles.

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