Dependence can be diagnosed in the ICD-10 if certain findings are present.


The dependence syndrome is defined as a constellation of behavioral, physiological and cognitive phenomena in which the use of a substance (or class of substances) becomes a higher priority for a person compared to other behaviors that once had greater value.


A definite diagnosis of dependence can be made if 3 or more of the following have been present together at some time during the past year. In the research criteria these should either:

(1) occur together for >= 1 month during a 12-month period OR

(2) have occurred together repeatedly within a 12-month period.



(1) A strong desire to take the substance (sense of compulsion).

(2) Difficulty controlling substance-taking behavior such as starting, stopping, and/or level of use (psychological or psychic dependence).

(3) Occurrence of a physiological withdrawal state if the drug is stopped, OR continuing to take the substance or a related substance in order to relieve a withdrawal state (physiological or physical dependence).

(4) Tolerance to the substance.

(5) Progressive neglect of alternative pleasures or interests.

(6) Continuing to use the substance despite clear evidence of overtly harmful consequences.


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