Cushing's Syndrome is a constellation of symptoms usually caused by Hypercortisolism. Hypersortisolism may be the result of prolonged use of Corticosteroids, tumor, stress, or even cancer.

Cushing's: An overview


Cushing's Disease is the endogenous form (from within the body) whose cause is tumors or cancer is relatively rare. Pseudo Cushing's caused by prolonged exposure to higher than normal levels of the primary human stress hormone cortisol for prologed periods of time such as is found in approximately 5% of people suffering from alcoholism. Exogenous (from outside the body) Cushing's syndrome includes Factitious (corticosteroid abuse) and is caused by the prolonged use of corticosteroids such as Prednisone. The use of corticosteroids has increased over the years to the point of 1% of the U.S. population having an active prescription for it. With that rise, there has also been a similar rise in the prevelance of Exogenous Cushing's Syndrome. The symptoms for Cushing's Syndrome gradually increase with time and if left untreated will become fatal for the patient and has the postential to cause additional emotional, psychological and physical harm to those closest to the patient. Within the peer reviewed medical literature available through the PubMed database, there is an 83% correlation between the cases that describe corticosteroid dependence, addiction or abuse and having the visibly obvious signs of Cushing's Syndrome. It is with this in mind that SEAFFACS recognizes prescribed corticosteroid dependence/addiction/use disorder as a unique form of substance use disorder in that these are not drugs of choice in most cases, but rather medications of necessity that are required for the improvement of the quality and longevity of life. It is also recognized that addictions whether prescribed or not become a family disease and that the treatment, particularly for a prescribed addiction, needs to encompass support for not only the patient, but also the family system as a whole.  

Psychiatric Presentations


Depression with high suicide risk

Emotional Instability

Psychopathic behavior



Maladaptive Personality

Cognitive Impairment

Memory Deficits

Attention Deficits

Reduced visuospatial ability 

Reduced  working memory


Other Presentations


Immunocompromised comorbid illness

Sleep disorders




Respiratory issues

Digestive issues



Reduced Hippocampal volume

Muscle atrophy