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Dependence syndrome

ICD-10 (Mental and behavioural disorders due to psychoactive substance use; F10-F19) describes dependence syndrome as a cluster of physiological, behavioural, and cognitive phenomena in which the use of a drug becomes a high priority for the user, overtaking other activities.

A central descriptive characteristic of dependence syndrome is the desire (often strong, sometimes overpowering) to take psychoactive drugs (which may or may not have been medically prescribed), alcohol, or tobacco – the element of taking or desire to take in terms of dependence being the key; this diagnosis would not apply for example, so someone taking Opioid analgesics following major surgery even though an element of withdrawal may be present when such drugs are discontinued. There may be evidence that return to substance use after a period of abstinence leads to a more rapid reappearance of other features of the syndrome than occurs with nondependent individuals.

WHO ICD-10