Those afflicted with COVID-19 may experience the loss of smell or anosmia. Smell is intimately tied to both taste and appetite, and anosmia often robs people of the pleasure of eating. But the sudden absence may also have a profound impact on mood and quality of life.
Studies have linked anosmia to social isolation and anhedonia, an inability to feel pleasure, as well as a strange sense of detachment and isolation.
Memories and emotions are intricately tied to smell, and the olfactory system plays an important though largely unrecognized role in emotional well-being, said Dr. Sandeep Robert Datta, an associate professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Datta said, “You think of it as an aesthetic bonus sense. But when someone is denied their sense of smell, it changes the way they perceive the environment and their place in the environment. People’s sense of well-being declines. It can be really jarring and disconcerting.”