What are the features of stimulant withdrawal syndrome?

Updated: Oct 18, 2020
  • Author: Nathanael J McKeown, DO; Chief Editor: David Vearrier, MD, MPH  more...
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Stimulant (cocaine and amphetamine) withdrawal, or wash-out syndrome generally does not directly cause life-threatening symptoms, seizures, or delirium. Features include the following:

  • This syndrome resembles severe depressive disorder
  • Manifestations include dysphoria, excessive sleep, hunger, and severe psychomotor retardation, whereas vital functions are well preserved

  • The patient is typically in deep sleep with normal vital signs, and he or she may have a history of crack-cocaine binging and similar episodes ("crashes") in the past

  • Patients may be so motivated to do nothing but sleep deeply that another cause for the patient's lack of responsiveness is suspected; in this case, a gradual full recovery and a negative workup would be expected

  • Depression, mood, and anxiety symptoms improve over the first week but may persist for up to 2 weeks [8]

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