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Is There a Higher Risk for Depression and Suicide for Children Who Have Cushing Syndrome?

April 8th, 2016

A new study performed by researchers at the National institutes of Health has determined that children who suffer from Cushing Syndrome may be at a higher risk for suicide and depression than children who do not have this syndrome. The condition is a disorder of the endocrine system which is rare, and it results in the production of abnormally high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Often the excess hormone is caused when a tumor forms on the pituitary or adrenal glands, but it can also be the result of taking excessive steroid medications as well. There is a marked difference in the development of depression between adults and children who suffer from Cushing Syndrome. Adults typically experience anxiety and depression before receiving treatment while children generally develop these same symptoms after treatment is received.

NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Division of Intramural Research director Constantine Stratakis, a senior author of the study on Cushing Syndrome, depression, and suicide, explained the study results. Stratakis stated “Our results indicate that physicians who care for young people with Cushing syndrome should screen their patients for depression-related mental illness after the underlying disease has been successfully treated. Patients may not tell their doctors that they’re feeling depressed, so it’s a good idea for physicians to screen their patients proactively for depression and related conditions.” The findings for the study have been published in Pediatrics. Researchers have suggested that children who have Cushing Syndrome should be informed that they could experience changes after treatment so these patients know what to expect and they can report any changes to their physician.

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