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Depression and Pituitary Tumors

A Literature Review
3 Sep 1999
by Troya Renee Yoder, used with permission
as originally posted on Suite, Pituitary Disorders

Psychiatric symptoms such as depression, apathy, irritability, and hostility have long been associated with pituitary disorders. In 1913, Harvey Cushing published a paper in the American Journal of Insanity (what a title!) entitled “Psychic disturbances associated with disorders of the ductless glands.” Cushing recognized that a significant proportion of his endocrine patients displayed psychiatric symptoms, and that even after successful treatment of the endocrine disorder (i.e.-hormone levels restored to normal), often residual psychological symptoms remained. He questioned whether the pituitary disease caused the stress and depressive symptoms he observed in his patients, or whether stress caused the pituitary disease (Cushing, 1913).

Since Cushing, there have been numerous studies documenting the relationship between depression and pituitary tumors. Here is a brief summary of a few of the most interesting:

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