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      Psychoneuroendocrinology and Clinical Psychology

      * , a , , a
      Clinical Psychology in Europe
      anxiety, cognition, depression, hormones, mental disorders, mood, psychological therapy

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          Hormones impact on cognition, emotions, and behaviour. Given that mental disorders are defined by abnormalities in these very same domains, clinical psychologists may benefit from learning more about alterations in endocrine systems, how they can contribute to symptoms commonly experienced by patients, and how such knowledge may be put to use in clinical practice.


          The aim of the present scientific update was to provide a brief overview of endocrine research relevant to the aetiology, diagnostics, and treatment of mental disorders, including some of the latest studies in this area.


          Hormones appear to be intrinsic to the development and maintenance of mental disorders. Oxytocin is involved in social cognition and behaviour and as such may be relevant to mental disorders characterised by social deficits (e.g., autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia). Stress and sex steroids exert demonstrable effects on mood and cognition. In patients with depression and anxiety disorders, initial attempts to lower/enhance such hormones have thus been undertaken within conventional therapies in order to improve outcomes. Finally, hunger and satiety hormones may be involved in the vicious circle of dysfunctional eating behaviours and weight loss/gain in anorexia or bulimia nervosa.


          Three conclusions can be drawn from this review: First, endocrine research should be considered when patients and clinicians are developing multidimensional illness models together. Second, endocrine markers can complement conventional assessments to provide a more comprehensive account of a patient’s current state. Third, endocrine testing may guide treatment choices and inform the development of novel treatments.


          • Hormones are intrinsic to the development and maintenance of mental disorders

          • Endocrine research should be incorporated into multidimensional illness models

          • Endocrine markers can complement conventional diagnostic assessments

          • Endocrine testing may guide treatment choices and inform the development of new treatments

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          Most cited references43

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          Research domain criteria (RDoC): toward a new classification framework for research on mental disorders.

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            Depression and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activation: a quantitative summary of four decades of research.

            To summarize quantitatively the literature comparing hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function between depressed and nondepressed individuals and to describe the important sources of variability in this literature. These sources include methodological differences between studies, as well as demographic or clinical differences between depressed samples.
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              Oxytocin and vasopressin in the human brain: social neuropeptides for translational medicine.

              The neuropeptides oxytocin (OXT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) are evolutionarily highly conserved mediators in the regulation of complex social cognition and behaviour. Recent studies have investigated the effects of OXT and AVP on human social interaction, the genetic mechanisms of inter-individual variation in social neuropeptide signalling and the actions of OXT and AVP in the human brain as revealed by neuroimaging. These data have advanced our understanding of the mechanisms by which these neuropeptides contribute to human social behaviour. OXT and AVP are emerging as targets for novel treatment approaches--particularly in synergistic combination with psychotherapy--for mental disorders characterized by social dysfunction, such as autism, social anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia.

                Author and article information

                Clin Psychol Eur
                Clinical Psychology in Europe
                Clin. Psychol. Eur.
                28 June 2019
                : 1
                : 2
                : 33030
                [a ]Institute of Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Zurich , Zurich, Switzerland
                [2]Philipps-University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany
                Author notes
                [* ]University of Zurich, Institute of Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Binzmuehlestrasse 14 / Box 26, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland. s.fischer@ 123456psychologie.uzh.ch

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 11 January 2019
                : 01 March 2019
                Self URI (journal-page): https://journals.psychopen.eu/
                Scientific Update and Overview

                psychological therapy,anxiety,mood,depression,mental disorders,hormones,cognition
                psychological therapy, anxiety, mood, depression, mental disorders, hormones, cognition


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