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The dexamethasone suppression test and plasma dexamethasone in generalized anxiety disorder

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      Abstract

      A Dexamethasone Suppression Test nonsuppression rate of 27% was found in a group of 30 generalized anxiety disorder patients before treatment. The dexamethasone concentrations in the eight nonsuppressors were significantly lower than in eight suppressors matched by sex and age, but were similar to those in five nonsuppressors from a matched normal control group. The dexamethasone concentrations in the generalized anxiety disorder suppressors and a matched group of eight normal control suppressors were similar. After successful nondrug behavioral treatment, all generalized anxiety disorder patients were suppressors. Posttreatment dexamethasone concentrations in the initial nonsuppressor patients remained significantly lower than in the initial suppressors. The results suggest that low plasma dexamethasone concentrations after 1 mg oral dexamethasone may confer a vulnerability to nonsuppression that may be expressed in the presence of high state anxiety.
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