Recently, it has been reported that major depression is accompanied by an increased sympathoadrenal system (SAS) activity. In order to study the psychopathological correlates of SAS activity in depression, the authors measured the 24 h urinary excretion of catecholamines (CA), i.e., noradrenaline (NE), adrenaline (E), dopamine (DA) and the NE/E metabolite 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG) in 80 unipolar depressed subjects. The excretion of these indices of SAS activity have been studied in relation to the depressive items of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III (SCID) and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS). There were significant positive correlations between the SCID item sleep disorders and the HDRS item middle insomia, on the one hand, and NE, E and DA excretion, on the other. The MHPG excretion in 24 h urine was significantly and negatively related to somatic anxiety and hypochondriasis. It is suggested that these intertwined relationships between increased CA turnover, sleep discontinuity and anxiety may reflect the occurence of a hyperarousal state in some major depressives that may be regarded as a coping response to various putative noxious stimuli.
- Psychopathological correlate
- Sympathoadrenal system (SAS) activity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health