Friday, January 04, 2008

Depression not only has bland taste but bland sense of smell too

In one of my earlier post on depression, I had commented on the fact that those suffering from depression have less sensitivity to sweet and bitter tastes and as such may compensate by eating more sugar thus leading to the well documented diabetes - depression linkage.

In a new study it has just been discovered that not only depressives have bland sense of taste, their sense of smell is also diminished and they may make compensations by using greater amounts of perfume. Overall it seems that those suffering from depression will have bland subjective experience of flavor(which is a combination of both smell and taste) and thus may even not really find what they eat to be tasty.

To me, this is an important finding. To my knowledge no research has been done in other sense modalities (like vision), but there is every reason to think that we may discover a bland sense of vision in depression. Why do I surmise so? this is because there is extensive literature available regarding the manic state and how things seem 'vivid' during that state including visual vividness. If depression is the converse of Mania, it follows that a corresponding blandness of vision should also be observed in those who are clinically depressed.

We also know that in extreme or psychotic forms of Mania, auditory hallucinations may arise. I am not suggesting that hallucinations are equal to vividness, but I would definitely love to see studies determining whether the auditory sense is heightened in Mania (maybe more absolute pitch perception in Mania) and a corresponding loss of auditory absolute pitch perception in depression. If so found, it may happen that music literally becomes subdued for people with depression and they sort of do not hear the music present in everyday life!

Whether other sense like touch, vestibular/ kinesthetic , proprioception (a heightened sense of which may give rise to eerie out-pf-body experiences in Mania) are also diminished in depression is another area where research may be fruitful.

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6 comments:

kurrodu said...

Are these an effect of antidepressants consumed by those suffering from depression?
Anyway, When I pass by someone whose perfume oversaturate my olfactories, I wud keep this in mind.lol

AMBER said...

I find that article to be really informative in regards to the fact that I have depression and never realized that but it makes perfect sense to me I never really agree with anyone when they say something that smells good or taste really good. I wondered what my problem was but now I know.
This article makes me wonder what else those of us that have depression get to not enjoy to the fullest because of our disease?

Anonymous said...

Someone very close to me played the piano & sang on key. Then she lost her sense of hearing the notes on key. Can't carry a tune anymore or recognize a song. Then she lost her sense of smell and taste. Just recently they have started treating her for depression. Are these all related? Her taste has come back. Do you think there is a possibility that her sense of the tons of music notes will come back?

Sandy G said...

yes, I believe that the diminishing of senses like taste, smell and pitch are related to depression and are a preceding cause/ symptom , rather than an effect of anti-depressants or some such post facto effect. Its good that your loved one is already on anti-depressant mediaction and has recovered her sense of taste. I'm sure in due course her ability to identify notes will also return.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sandy, for your words of encouragement. We will pray that her sense of pitch comes back in due time, as music was so much a part of her life.

The said...

I have a very poor sense of smell, and I am prone to depression. But while depression may come and go, my sense of smell doesn't ever get better. This makes me wonder exactly what the link is. Perhaps something neurologically is causing both.