Depression and DHEA
has been extensively studied in depression. DHEA levels are reduced in major
depressive disorders in both adolescents and adults, and an elevated
cortisol/DHEA ratio predicts a delay in recovery. Women lacking detectable
DHEA have an increased occurrence of depression. DHEA has also been a useful
remedy for depression.
The majority of clinical trials
investigating the effect of DHEA on depression support its use for this
purpose under the guidance of a specialist.
A well-conducted study by the National
Institute of Mental Health found DHEA to be quite effective in treating
midlife long-lasting, mild depression (dysthymia). The symptoms that
improved most significantly were inability to gain pleasure from normally
pleasurable experiences (anhedonia), loss of energy, lack of motivation,
emotional “numbness,” sadness, inability to cope, and worrying.
A study with a treatment of 3 months of DHEA
supplementation improved self-reported physical and psychological
well-being in age-advanced individuals. These results were supported by a
recent study that showed DHEA therapy improved depression among
In a 1999 study, M. Bloch used a double
blind crossover trial of DHEA to treat 15 patients suffering from midlife
dysthymia (minor depression of middle-age onset). There was a 60%
improvement during the DHEA phase, while only 20% improvement during the
placebo phase. The symptoms that improved most were anhedonia [lack of joy
in daily living] loss of energy, lack of motivation, emotional 'numbness',
sadness, inability to cope, and worry.