The standard infrared photobeam locomotor activity system has been used extensively in neurobiology and neuropharmacology to study the functional impact of direct manipulations of the nervous system. There is interest in using the activity monitors to assess the early stages of drug withdrawal in rodents. In a standard twice-daily dosing strategy animals would be dosed at 6:00 am and 5:00 pm for 15 to 30 days. There is interest in using the chambers to assess the early stages of the discontinuation syndrome. Placement of the rodents into the chambers following the scheduled sham or vehicle last dose of a 15- to 30-day subchronic dosing regimen (b.i.d., t.i.d., etc.) and monitoring overnight allows for a quantitative measure of the initial physiological homeostatic acclimation period during the lights-out period. By using the chambers there is no circadian dysrhythmia induced as an experimental confound and objectively verifiable data is generated during the period expected to correspond with the plasma drug levels approaching zero and the onset of discontinuation syndrome. We demonstrated that untreated "normal" rats showed a normal decelerating time-effect curve over the 12-hour monitoring period that was not compromised by restricted access to food and water. Arterial blood gas monitoring before and after 12 h of night-time activity chamber monitoring clearly demonstrated normal respiratory function with no clinical signs of any blood gas-based diagnosis of metabolic dysfunction.