Psycho-Endocrinology

Bryson, Ronald W (1958) Psycho-Endocrinology. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Harmony in endocrine function is essential to normal mentation. Gross deviations of endocrine function have long been recognised as often being accompanied by psychiatric disorder but little importance has been attached to this until recent years when interest has been intensified in putting psychiatry on a more rational basis. The present system of classification of psychiatric disorders has for long been regarded as unsatisfactory, grouping as it does all patients with a few similar symptoms in to the one category, the position resembling that as if one were satisfied by diagnosing "headache" or "abdominal pain". The interaction existing between mind and body is no more pronounced than in the endocrine system. The influence of disturbed emotion reacting through the hypothalamus, target glands and the periphery, the latter in turn affecting mentation is now fully accepted and it is important to appreciate that the primary disturbance may be at any level in the circle. An emotional upset or conflict, conscious or unconscious may by this mechanism cause amenorrhoea or hyperthyroidism which in turn may alter the mental state. An unresponsive thyroid or an alteration in peripheral sensivity to hormones may secondarily cause mental symptoms so that it can be seen that by a combination of primary and secondary reactions, a vicious circle can be established which may be interrupted at any level to produce a more stable pattern of body-mind equilibrium. Thus brain surgery may be effective in interrupting the chain of events between the frontal areas and the thalamus, psychotherapy by helping the individual to increase his ability to deal with or tolerate psychic trauma acts similarly and hormone therapy in addition to its peripheral action can also affect mentation. The use of anterior pituitary trophic hormones while still of limited application is another point at which interference is possible, while the use of hormones from the peripheral glands such as thyroid, testosterone and dehydroisoandrosterone may in certain cases prove therapeutic. The case material in the clinical section was obtained from a hospital with an annual admission rate of 450, in under two years with the exception of the case of cyclical psychosis thus showing that even with the relatively crude methods of investigating and screening available, that a significant proportion of admissions have some endocrine abnormality. With more exact techniques, every year sees our ability to obtain a finer and a more general picture of endocrine function, a reality. Several points in future research would seem important. A single isolated test will seldom be of any value in a constantly changing internal situation. As under or over production of one gland has widespread repercussions , it would seem essential that not only should indices of function representative of the total hormonal equilibrium be made, but also that serial studies be performed. It is the changing situation internally to which importance must be attached as the elasticity of hormonal response and its ability when bombarded by stimuli to return to a stable pattern must be more significant in assessment than the particular pattern at one specific time. The two peripheral glands concerned in mentation are the adrenals and the thyroid. With administered ACTH or cortisone, the incidence of effect on emotions and mentation varies according to the various authors from 5% to 95%. These administered hormones are capable of producing a primary mood change out of keeping with the reality situation and also in a minority of cases to produce a psychotic reaction. This is illustrated by the case of Cushing's syndrome presented where the adrenal hormones produced endogenously to excess precipitated gross mental changes. It would appear that the more gross reactions are not related to total hormone dosage, duration of administration nor to previous personality as administration to psychotics is singularly without effect. In these cases, cortisone seems to act as a toxin but not in the usually accepted clinical form of a toxicosis. It is suggested that in these people, the elasticity of their endocrine system and its ability to minimise internal change is probably innately weak and that even small dosages of administered hormones can derange the total hormonal equilibrium eventually affecting cerebral function. (Abstract shortened by ProQuest.).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Endocrinology, Psychobiology
Date of Award: 1958
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1958-79221
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2020 11:27
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2020 11:27
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/79221

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