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February 1961

Clinical Study of Hyperthyroidism: Comparison of Male and Female Characteristics

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry and the Addison H. Gibson Laboratory of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1961;4(2):160-165. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1961.01710080056009

In the psychiatric studies of hyperthyroidism, little has been written about the psychodynamic differences between male and female hyperthyroid patients. It would seem that this aspect deserves consideration in view of the fact that thyrotoxicosis occurs 4 to 8 times more frequently in women than in men.

Previous studies have demonstrated several emotional factors which may be related to the development of hyperthyroidism. The relationship of fear to hyperthyroidism was discussed in a case report by Caleb Perry, published posthumously in 1825. "The patient, Elizabeth S., age 21, was thrown out of a wheel chair in coming fast down a hill. Very much frightened though not much hurt, she developed palpitation and nervousness and in about 2 weeks swelling of the thyroid gland was noted." The relationship of anger to hyperthyroidism was described in 1933 by Bernard Mittleman when he implicated ". . . nervousness as a motor

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