Depression, prolactin and dissociated mind.

OBJECTIVES: Usual neuroendocrinological manifestation of traumatic stress and dissociation is dysregulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The aim of the present study is to perform examination of HPA axis as indexed by basal serum prolactin and test its relationship to dissociative symptoms and symptoms of traumatic stress.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: 25 inpatients treated at the university hospital with diagnosis of unipolar depression mean age 41.23 (SD=11.53) were assessed using psychometric measures of dissociation (DES) and traumatic symptoms (TSC-40), and using standard biochemical analytical methods basal serum prolactin levels were investigated.

RESULTS: Data show that prolactin manifests significant relationship to dissociative symptoms (r=0.52, p=0.004). Significant correlation was not found between prolactin and traumatic symptoms measured by TSC-40 (r=0.31, p=0.07).

CONCLUSIONS: The present data suggest that serum prolactin levels in unipolar depressive patients are related to dissociative symptoms that is likely caused by passive coping mechanisms leading to dissociation.

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