Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Pharmacological Stress Tests

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_44



The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis is the major neuroendocrine stress system in humans. Appropriate functioning of this highly dynamic multilevel system and its feedback mechanisms are assumed to modulate psycho-physiological adaptation to all major and minor challenges in life. In line with this, profound HPA axis alterations have been found in psychiatric disorders (most prominently affective disorders), in chronic medical disorders (e.g., cardiovascular disease), and in unexplained medical symptoms (e.g., chronic fatigue, Nater et al., 2008). Furthermore, it has been suggested that restoration of glucocorticoid receptor functioning and thereby improvement of HPA axis integrity might mediate treatment outcome in some disorders (such as depression) (Holsboer, 2000).

In order to assess the functional integrity of the HPA axis and its feedback mechanisms, standard pharmacological challenge tests...

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Department of PsychologyUniversity of ZurichBinzmuhlestrasseSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MarburgMarburgGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Medical PsychologyCharité University Medicine BerlinBerlinGermany