When exposed to prolonged stress, rats develop gastric ulceration, enhanced colon motility with depletion of its mucin content and signs of physiological and behavioral arousal. In this model, we tested whether antidepressants (fluoxetine and bupropion), anxiolytics (diazepam and buspirone) or the novel nonpeptide corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) type-1 receptor (CRH-R1) antagonist, antalarmin, modify these responses. Fluoxetine, bupropion, diazepam and antalarmin all suppressed stress-induced gastric ulceration in male Sprague-Dawley rats exposed to four hours of plain immobilization. Antalarmin produced the most pronounced anti-ulcer effect and additionally suppressed the stress-induced colonic hypermotility, mucin depletion, autonomic hyperarousal and struggling behavior. Intraperitoneal CRH administration reproduced the intestinal but not the gastric responses to stress while vagotomy antagonized the stress-induced gastric ulceration but not the intestinal responses. We conclude that brain CRH-R1 and vagal pathways are essential for gastric ulceration to occur in response to stress and that peripheral CRH-R1 mediates colonic hypermotility and mucin depletion in this model. Nonpeptide CRH-R1 antagonists may therefore be prophylactic against stress ulcer in the critically ill and therapeutic for other pathogenetically related gastrointestinal disorders such as peptic ulcer disease and irritable bowel syndrome.