Skip to main content


Log in

Stress-induced craving and stress response in cocaine dependent individuals

  • Published:
Psychopharmacology Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Two laboratory studies were conducted to examine the effects of acute psychological stress on craving and stress reactivity in cocaine abusers. In the first preliminary study, we examined the effects of a speech stressor task and a personalized stress imagery task on self-reported craving and emotional state in ten cocaine abusers. Both stressors led to significant decreases in neutral and joy states, and significant increases in fear ratings as compared to baseline ratings. In addition, the stress imagery condition led to significant increases in cocaine craving and sadness and anger ratings, as compared to baseline. Thus, the personalized stress imagery task appeared to be more effective than the speech stress task in inducing craving in the laboratory. The second study examined the effects of stress imagery as compared to neutral imagery on cocaine craving, subjective anxiety and physiological responses in a second group of ten cocaine abusers. The stress imagery task once again produced significant increases in cocaine craving along with increases in heart rate, salivary cortisol and subjective anxiety ratings. These data are the first to document that acute psychological stress consistently increases craving for cocaine in cocaine abusers. The studies also provide a promising method for examining the association between stress and drug craving in the laboratory.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Additional information

Received: 9 March 1998/Final version: 14 September 1998

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sinha, R., Catapano, D. & O’Malley, S. Stress-induced craving and stress response in cocaine dependent individuals. Psychopharmacology 142, 343–351 (1999).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: