The Dexamethasone Suppression Test in Clinical Psychiatry

  • N. M. Kurtz
  • Jeffrey L. Rausch


Over the past three decades, changes in serum Cortisol have been associated with psychological and physical stress. Early studies suggested the possibility of an alteration in the feedback sensitivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ad-renal (HPA) axis in certain psychiatric patients. As early as 1949, Pincus and associates reported a resistance in psychotic men to the normal urinary sodium change seen after administration of adrenal cortex extract. In 1954, Rizzo and colleagues noted the failure to detect the expected fall in 17-ketosteroid excretion when hydrocortisone was administered to a cyclothymic patient. By 1966, resistance of serum Cortisol to dexamethasone suppression had been reported in a subgroup of depressed psychiatric patients by Stokes (1966).


Depressed Patient Major Depressive Disorder Plasma Cortisol Clinical Psychiatry Depressive Illness 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. M. Kurtz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jeffrey L. Rausch
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Clinical Investigation UnitSepulveda Veterans Administration HospitalSepulvedaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California at Los AngelesSepulvedaUSA
  3. 3.Ensor Foundation Research LaboratoryWilliam S. Hall Psychiatric InstituteColumbiaUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California at San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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