Research Article

Dexamethasone suppression test as a simple measure of stress?

BMJ 1985; 290 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.290.6484.1804 (Published 15 June 1985) Cite this as: BMJ 1985;290:1804
  1. G W Mellsop,
  2. J D Hutton,
  3. J W Delahunt

    Abstract

    Non-suppression of cortisol by dexamethasone has been described as a biological marker of a diagnostic subgroup of depressed patients. This paper presents the hypothesis that the degree of non-suppression is a variable that reflects the quantity of stress or distress experienced by the patient rather than relating to a specific diagnosis. Such a quantitative measure of stress would be valuable for research in general medicine as well as in psychiatry. Testing of this postulate should apply a more precise interpretation of endocrine principles than has been applied to the dexamethasone suppression test to date.