Rats and mice exposed to repeated stress or a single severe stress exhibit a sustained increase in energetic, endocrine, and behavioral response to subsequent novel mild stress. This study tested whether the hyper-responsiveness was due to a lowered threshold of response to corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) or an exaggerated response to a standard dose of CRF. Male Sprague–Dawley rats were subjected to 3 h of restraint on each of 3 consecutive days (RRS) or were non-restrained controls. RRS caused a temporary hypophagia but a sustained reduction in body weight. Eight days after the end of restraint, rats received increasing third ventricle doses of CRF (0–3.0 μg). The lowest dose of CRF (0.25 μg) increased corticosterone release in RRS, but not control rats. Higher doses caused the same stimulation of corticosterone in the two groups of rats. Fifteen days after the end of restraint, rats were food deprived during the light period and received increasing third ventricle doses of CRF at the start of the dark period. The lowest dose of CRF inhibited food intake during the first hour following infusion in RRS, but not control rats. All other doses of CRF inhibited food intake to the same degree in both RRS and control rats. The lowered threshold of response to central CRF is consistent with the chronic hyper-responsiveness to CRF and mild stress in RRS rats during the post-restraint period.