Mental health impact of losing smell and taste due to COVID-19

Mental health impact of losing smell and taste due to COVID-19

Temporary lack of smell is known as anosmia. It’s a neurological symptom that’s one of COVID-19’s earliest and most frequent symptoms. In fact, when compared to other symptoms like fever and cough, some studies indicate that it’s one of the main signs of COVID-19. Anosmia may be caused by a common cold, which irritates the nose’s lining, or by a more severe infection affecting the brain or nerves.

Sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste are the five senses that link us to the rest of the world. We depend on our senses to connect with our surroundings, from the food to the non-living things. Certain smells and tastes can also bring us comfort; they can increase dopamine levels and improve our mood by connecting us to happier experiences. However, if we lose one or more of our senses, life can become a little slow and boring which bothers us.  Our senses of smell and taste are also intertwined; 95% of the time, a loss of taste is accompanied by a loss of smell. We lose 40% of our sensory information if we can’t smell or taste.

Unfortunately, more people have lost their sense of smell, taste, or both as a result of COVID-19 last year than at any other time in history. This sensory loss is not only an unpleasant condition and a struggle to deal with, but it also raises a number of mental health issues.

Accordingly, what would you do if the senses of smell and taste are gone? How to deal with that as well? A review-based website “top rated buyer guides” that provides you with knowledge and details about various products; has researched about mental health impact of losing smell and taste due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Causes You to Lose Your Smell and Taste

COVID-19 is a dangerous, infectious, and often deadly illness, as we all know. When it first emerged, people who had become sick started to experience a series of strange symptoms, including a loss of smell and taste. Many people have reported losing some or all of their senses, stating that foods they once enjoyed are now inedible, or that anything tastes metallic and unappealing. Others have utterly lost all of these senses, with little ability to smell or taste. Taste and smell loss happens at different times for different people: some people will lose these senses as one of the first COVID-19 side effects, while others may lose them later. Whereas the most people who lose their sense of smell and taste recover within a few weeks, some continue to lose their abilities even after recovering from COVID-19.

Loss of Smell and Taste May Have Serious Mental Health Consequences

Our quality of life is impacted when we lose our sense of smell or taste. Anosmia has been attributed to social detachment and anxiety, the inability to experience joy and a general feeling of distance from others, Individuals with this sensory impairment view their connections with others as strained, and relationships suffer as a result, leading to feelings of isolation. A lack of sensory experience can have a significant effect on one’s mood and well-being and is a significant risk factor for anxiety and depression. Olfactory dysfunction has also been linked to social isolation, according to studies. While the mental health consequences of this loss are significant, it is important to become acquainted with them as well as how they can affect other mental health conditions.

Eating disorder

Eating can become unpleasant and disturbing for those who can no longer smell or taste their food properly. It can also be harder to ascertain one’s appetite, and many people are also eating less, which may result in significant weight loss.

Mental disorders 

As a result of their anosmia, many people are experiencing increased anxiety. We lose valuable coping skills when we can’t smell, which causes fear about being able to smell a gas leak, a fire, or poisoned food.  Such depression aspects of losing your sense of smell include being unaware of your own smell, being unable to detect other smells and taste. Grieving, loneliness, lack of income, and anxiety may all cause or worsen mental health problems. Many people may be experiencing a rise in alcohol and drug use, as well as insomnia and anxiety. COVID-19, on the other hand, can cause neurological and mental problems like cognitive impairment, anxiety, and stroke. People with pre-existing psychiatric, neurological, or substance-abusing conditions are often more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and they may face a higher risk of serious consequences, including death.

Depression

These factors contribute to the increase in depression:

  • Trauma caused by widespread disease.
  • Grief/agony and frustration
  • Changes in appetite, energy, desires, and interests
  • Fear of becoming ill.
  • Physical separation and isolation
  • Financial constraints/loss of job

Excessive or insufficient sleep, lack of motivation to complete tasks, self-hate, feeling of guilt, isolating oneself from loved ones, appetite or weight changes are all possible symptoms of depression. Stay updated for such symptoms in yourself and others.

It’s okay to not feel okay. This is a stress affects all of us to varying degrees in one way or another. And once you’ve admitted it to yourself and others, you can start looking for recovery options and services. If you’re feeling nervous or depressed and you’ve lost your sense of taste and smell, remember that you’re dealing with a major life shift that affects one of the most basic ways of communicating with the world. Our feelings and memories are strongly intertwined to these senses. Losing one’s sense of taste and smell is a significant loss that can trigger emotions such as disappointment, rage, sorrow, denial, and frustration.

What is the most effective treatment for this COVID-19 symptom?

COVID-19 has put us all to the test in a variety of ways. Here are some suggestions to help you deal with your loss:

  • Grief/Sorrow: Enable yourself to grieve and accept your feelings at first. Allow yourself time to process and be gentle with yourself if you’re unhappy, angry, or upset.
  • Take good care of yourself
  1. Take a few deep breaths, stretch out the muscles.
  2. Try to eat nutritious, well-balanced meals.
  3. Exercise on a daily basis.
  4. Make sure you get enough rest.
  5. Excessive use of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances should be avoided.

Follow the healthcare provider’s recommendations for standard preventive steps (such as vaccines and cancer screenings).

  • Make smelling exercise a part of your everyday routine: According to a recent report, the training may aid in regaining smell. This exercise allows you to sniff different essential oils several times a day (try lavender, chamomile, rose, cinnamon, and chocolate). If you can’t detect the smell at all, try to recall them in your mind. Incorporate new relaxing practices into your daily routine, focus on other activities i.e., take a warm bath, watch a soothing show, and practice yoga or meditation. You will feel better gradually.
  • Acceptance: Although dealing with a loss of smell and taste can be difficult, try not to dwell on this loss that is beyond your control. Encourage appreciation for surviving a life-threatening illness.

COVID-19 has a mental health impact on persons of different ages, but young adults in particular seem to be suffering from extremely detrimental mental health consequences. Although this age group should be having the best times such as starting a career, new admissions in universities etc. yet they are trapped in their houses at Zoom University and attending online classes, working first jobs from home, and lacking human interaction. Young people have social media and other benefits through which they can be benefited online but it is not the same. Virtual socializing does not have the same benefits as face-to-face socializing, particularly for young individuals in critical stages of development.

What is the Root of the Mental Health Crisis?

Isolation and a lack of interpersonal interaction are the two primary factors of this mental health issue. Young adults need to experience human interaction and form relationships, both platonic and romantic, during their college and early post-college years. However, there are obvious barriers to in-person human interaction during the pandemic.  Many forms of social life that college students used to have, such as sports, brunches, are no longer accessible, according to Richardson, and this is having a negative impact on their mental health. Moreover, many students manage online learning with hectic home lives, financial difficulties, and technological problems. Nonetheless, they persist.

“Isolation and a lack of social interaction are harmful to mental health because we are made for communication as humans,” says Richardson. “When the outside world is negative or non-existent, we tend to turn inward and contextualize the lack of culture as a sign that something is wrong with us, even though we know cognitively that isn’t the case.”

What You Should Do to Improve Yourself and Others’ Circumstances

It’s important to remain conscious of how you’re feeling during this mental health crisis. Taking care of yourself will enable you to better care for others. It’s particularly important to keep in contact with loved ones during times of social isolation. Using phone calls or video chats to help others cope with stress will make you and your family members feel less lonely and isolated. Some people are intuitive and can quickly detect when they are experiencing mental distress, while others can need some intense self-reflection.

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