Go fragrance free
If you find yourself becoming highly sensitive to fragrances (or the chemicals underlying them), you’re not alone: A significant percentage of the population has this experience—one that can emerge or be heightened during psychiatric drug withdrawal, possibly due to an overstimulated nervous system. Maybe you find that catching a whiff of your friend’s perfume, which you used to like, now gives you a headache, causes nausea, or makes it hard to concentrate. Or that the smell of bleach while cleaning, which you barely noticed before, is suddenly overpowering and gives you heart palpitations. If so, chances are you’ve developed a newfound appreciation for those signs at your doctor’s office announcing “a fragrance-free environment”.
Considering all of the places that you’re likely to encounter scents in daily life, the environment that you have the most control over is your own home. Some people going through psychiatric drug withdrawal simply do away with scented products such as air fresheners, personal products, laundry products, cleaning supplies, and artificially scented candles.
At your workplace, school, or other public settings, avoiding fragrances can be a little trickier. The good news is that scent sensitivity is a widespread enough problem that you may be able to (nicely) ask your friends, co-workers, or employers to accommodate you by toning down the perfume or after-shave, avoiding heavy-duty cleaning products in your area, and so on. You can also become more mindful when walking around city streets and try to avoid the areas with the worst vehicle fumes.
For addressing indoor scents, some people find that keeping a strategically directed fan can help. Others consider investing in an air purifier, which may range in price from about $30 to more than $2,000 depending on the square footage to be covered and the mechanism of action (most will require replacement filters as well). You might also want to explore a more natural option: according to one study performed by NASA, there are a number of indoor plants that soak up household odors and chemicals while releasing clean oxygen—and offer a restful view for the eyes to boot.