In the present study, we replicated and extended our previous findings of increased 24-hour urinary catecholamine excretion in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine concentrations were measured in 22 male patients with PTSD (14 inpatients and eight outpatients) and in 16 nonpsychiatric normal males. The PTSD inpatients showed significantly higher excretion of all three catecholamines compared with both outpatients with PTSD and normal controls. Dopamine and norepinephrine, but not epinephrine, levels were significantly correlated with severity of PTSD symptoms in the PTSD group as a whole. In particular, these catecholamines seemed related to intrusive symptoms. None of the catecholamines were correlated with severity of depression. The findings support the hypothesis of an enhanced sympathetic nervous system activation in PTSD, and suggest that increased sympathetic arousal may be closely linked to severity of certain PTSD symptom clusters.
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