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Psychiatric symptoms as a clinical presentation of Cushing’s syndrome

Alice Tang1, Anthony J O’Sullivan12*, Terry Diamond12, Andrew Gerard3 and Peter Campbell4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Endocrinology, St George Hospital, Gray St, Kogarah, New South Wales, Australia

2 Department of Medicine, St George Hospital and UNSW Medicine, University of New South Wales, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia

3 Department of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, St George Hospital, Kogarah, New South Wales, Australia

4 Department of Surgery, St George Hospital, Kogarah, New South Wales, Australia

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Annals of General Psychiatry 2013, 12:23  doi:10.1186/1744-859X-12-23

Published: 17 July 2013


Cushing’s syndrome can present with a spectrum of symptoms; however, it is less recognised that psychiatric symptoms can form part of the clinical presenting features. In the investigations for an organic cause for a psychiatric illness, Cushing’s syndrome needs to be considered, especially if there are other features such as hirsutism or hypertension. In this article, the two cases reported demonstrate that a prompt diagnosis is not only important for psychiatric management but also crucial for timely institution of the necessary treatment of life-threatening causes of hypercortisolaemia such as metastatic adrenal carcinoma.

Hypercortisolaemia; Hypercortisolism; Cushing’s syndrome; Psychosis; Depression; Catatonia