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Research Article

Dexamethasone suppression test as a simple measure of stress?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985; 290 doi: (Published 15 June 1985) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;290:1804
  1. G W Mellsop,
  2. J D Hutton,
  3. J W Delahunt


    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.