The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that blockade of alpha1-adrenergic receptors may suppress the excessive ethanol consumption associated with acute withdrawal in ethanol-dependent rats. Following the acquisition and stabilization of operant ethanol self-administration in male Wistar rats, dependence was induced in half the animals by subjecting them to a 4-week intermittent vapor exposure period in which animals were exposed to ethanol vapor for 14h/day. Subsequent to dependence induction, the effect of alpha1-noradrenergic receptor antagonist prazosin (0.0, 0.25, 0.5, 1, 1.5, and 2.0mg/kg IP) was tested on operant responding for ethanol in vapor-exposed and control rats during acute withdrawal. In ethanol-dependent animals, prazosin significantly suppressed responding at the 1.5 and 2.0mg/kg doses, whereas only the 2.0mg/kg dose was effective in nondependent animals, identifying an increase in the sensitivity to prazosin in dependent animals. Conversely, at the lowest dose tested (0.25mg/kg), prazosin increased responding in nondependent animals, which is consistent with the effect of anxiolytics on ethanol self-administration in nondependent animals. None of the doses tested reliably affected concurrent water self-administration. These results suggest the involvement of the noradrenergic system in the excessive alcohol drinking seen during acute withdrawal in ethanol-dependent rats.