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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2005 Sep;82(1):236-40.

Apathy predicts hedonic but not craving response to cocaine.

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David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA.


Cocaine-induced craving has been implicated in the maintenance of ongoing cocaine use and is presumed to be mediated by enhanced synaptic availability of monoamines, including dopamine. Apathy is a neuropsychiatric syndrome that is associated with hypodopaminergic functioning and is neurobiologically distinct from depression. Apathy has been observed to be prevalent during the initial phases of abstinence in cocaine-dependent individuals. In the current report, we sought to investigate the relationship between apathy, depression, and craving in response to an acute intravenous administration of cocaine. To this end, sixteen non-treatment seeking volunteers were evaluated. Following acute administration of cocaine (40 mg, IV), patients with low apathy scores exhibited increased craving, whereas patients with high apathy scores exhibited decreased craving. In addition, patients with high apathy scores exhibited increased ratings of the subjective measure of "High", suggesting that high apathy predicts a greater hedonic response in dependence. Self-reported ratings of depression did not account for the observed differences. The data reveal that cocaine-induced craving is not ubiquitous, and may not play a critical role in the maintenance of cocaine dependence. Overall, the findings suggest that apathy predicts hedonic but not craving response to cocaine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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