Author(s):Dr Zehra Jafar and reviewed by Dr Sivaguru Gurunathan Mani
Type:TrOn learning module
Why is knowledge of the neuroendocrine system important for psychiatrists?
Endocrinology and psychiatry have a close and complex relationship. Endocrine disorders can affect a person’s mental state well before the onset of physical signs of illness; for example, depression occurs in people with hypothyroidism, and Cushing’s syndrome typically manifests with various neuropsychiatric features. Similarly, psychiatric disorders can be accompanied by abnormalities of hormonal levels, such as when blunted growth hormone response to provocative stimuli is seen in depression (Checkley et al, 1981).
Hormonal imbalances can be a side-effect of psychotropic drugs. For example, people receiving lithium require close monitoring of their thyroid function, and some endocrine disorders can be precipitated by stressful life events such as Cushing’s syndrome and Grave’s disease. These examples highlight the interface between neuropsychiatry and endocrinology. It is important for us as psychiatrists to have a good knowledge of the associations between endocrine disorders and psychiatric illness so that we are able to identify and manage them successfully.
This module will cover the neuroscience of common endocrine disorders along with their psychiatric manifestations.
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