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Dexamethasone Suppression in Basic Trainees Under Stress

Capt Michael Blumenfield, MC, USAF; Capt Leslie I. Rose, MC, USAF; Maj Lewis H. Richmond, MC, USAF; Lt Col Steven C. Beering, MC, USAF
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1970;23(4):299-304. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1970.01750040011002.
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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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