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October 1970

Dexamethasone Suppression in Basic Trainees Under Stress

Author Affiliations

Lackland Air Force Base, Tex
From the Department of Psychiatry, Aerospace Medical Laboratory (Clinical) and Department of Medicine, Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Tex. Dr. Blumenfield is currently with the Department of Psychiatry, Downstate Medical College, Brooklyn, NY; Dr. Rose is with the Department of Medicine, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston; Dr. Richmond is with the Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Medical School, San Antonio; and Dr. Beering is with the Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1970;23(4):299-304. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1970.01750040011002

THERE has been an increasing interest in the adrenocortical response to behavior. Alterations of 17-hydroxycorticosteroids (17OHCS) have been reported in a variety of different emotional states, including depression and psychic stress in combat troops.1-6 It has been shown also that elevations in 17-OHCS may occur in suicidal patients.7-9 Most of these studies, showing steroid alterations accompanying various psychic conditions, have utilized baseline urinary 24-hour 17-OHCS determinations. Recently, Fawcett and Bunney reported a failute of dexamethasone suppression in some depressed patients.1 This finding has been confirmed by Carroll et al utilizing plasma 11-hydroxycorticoste roids.10 This latter group also noted that coincident with recovering from depression, normal dexamethasone suppression returned.

Military basic trainees are under varying degrees of emotional stress during their training period. Some tolerate these stresses less well than others and are referred to the Mental Hygiene Clinic for evaluation and therapy. It is the purpose of

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