Psychopharmacologic violence associated with cocaine abuse: kindling of a limbic dyscontrol syndrome?
Davis WM
Department of Pharmacology and
Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
School of Pharmacy,
University of Mississippi, USA.
Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 1996 Nov; 20(8):1273-300


1. An association of cocaine abuse with aggressive or violent behavior arising from direct pharmacologic effects of cocaine is demonstrable in the forensic and clinical literature. 2. The neurobehavioral basis for this association is considered form among known CNS actions of cocaine. A hypothesis is developed concerning the role of pharmacological kindling by cocaine that may sensitize for release of limbic-hypothalamic mechanisms of aggressive behavior, and for a drug-induced dyscontrol syndrome. 3. Parallels are drawn to kindling by electrical stimuli, and to neurophysiological research on mechanisms of aggression. 4. A role of concurrent hyperthermic effects of cocaine is suggested. 5. Potential contributions of cocaine actions on CNS serotonergic, catecholaminergic and/or adenosinergic systems are considered. 6. A likely role of concurrent ethanol ingestion to enhance the manifestation of cocaine-associated violence is recognized. 7. Pharmacological challenges, lidocaine or caffeine, are suggested as a means of detecting lowered thresholds of limbic excitability as a consequence of repeated cocaine exposures.

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