Depression and anhedonia are two major symptoms of cocaine withdrawal in humans. Hence, pharmacological treatments effective in depression might also alleviate the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal. In the present study, the effects of acute and repeated administration of a tricyclic antidepressant, desmethylimipramine (DMI), were investigated in naive and cocaine-withdrawing rats. An animal model of cocaine withdrawal was used that employs the elevation in intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) thresholds following the termination of prolonged periods of cocaine self-administration as a measure of an animal's "anhedonic" state. The influence of chronic DMI treatment on beta-adrenergic receptor binding and affinity was also correlated with the behavioral signs of cocaine withdrawal. Neither acute nor repeated DMI treatment influenced reward functions in rats that were not undergoing cocaine withdrawal. However, repeated DMI treatment significantly down-regulated beta-adrenergic receptors, and shortened the duration of the post-cocaine "anhedonia" (elevation in thresholds). Furthermore, the magnitude of the beta-adrenergic receptor down-regulation correlated significantly with the degree of effectiveness of DMI treatment in reversing the post-cocaine "anhedonia". However, chronic DMI treatment did reduce the amount of cocaine self-administered by the animals. The reversal of the post-cocaine anhedonia in this animal model of cocaine withdrawal by chronic DMI treatment demonstrates the potential usefulness of the model in identifying new pharmacotherapies for cocaine withdrawal. In addition, the results indicate that tricyclic antidepressants may be able to ameliorate some of the symptoms of cocaine withdrawal.