Apathy syndrome in cocaine dependence
Kalechstein AD, Newton TF, Leavengood AH.
Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences,
UCLA School of Medicine,
UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute,
760 Westwood Plaza, A7-372,
90024, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Psychiatry Res 2002 Jan 31;109(1):97-100


The cocaine abstinence syndrome has been associated with a range of symptoms, including apathy and depression. Although initial studies reported high prevalence rates of 'apathy/amotivation' and depression, validated rating scales of apathy were not then available. Using a validated measure of apathy, we hypothesized that newly abstinent cocaine-dependent subjects would report increased apathy compared with non-cocaine-using control subjects. Furthermore, because apathy and depression are dissociable in other neuropsychiatric syndromes, we examined whether they were dissociable in recently abstinent cocaine-dependent subjects. Following 4 days of monitored abstinence, cocaine-dependent subjects (n=11) and non-drug-using control subjects (n=19) were administered standardized tests of apathy and depression. Cocaine-dependent subjects had elevated scores on the apathy rating scale compared with the control group, but the groups did not differ in ratings of depression. These data suggest that apathy is present during the initial phases of abstinence for a subset of cocaine-dependent individuals. This group may benefit from targeted pharmacological intervention.

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