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Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine is a dopamine agonist that blocks the reuptake of dopamine and increases dopamine activity in the mesolimbic regions of the brain to cause a subjective high. Although repeated use can lead to craving and development of physiological dependence, withdrawal from cocaine is traditionally known to be mild and not life threatening. Withdrawal from stimulants and cocaine has been studied extensively in animal models, which have shown changes in behavioral responsivity and alteration in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels during withdrawal states. This entry describes the clinical features of cocaine withdrawal and discusses follow-up and treatment.

Clinical Features

Historically, Frank Gawin and Herbert Kleber described cocaine abstinence syndrome using a triphasic model, which described Phase 1 as a crash, Phase 2 as withdrawal, and Phase 3 as ...

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