The influence of psychological factors on the opiate withdrawal syndrome

Br J Psychiatry. 1986 Aug;149:235-8. doi: 10.1192/bjp.149.2.235.


Psychological and drug-related variables and their effect on the severity of withdrawal symptoms were examined in a group of addicts being withdrawn from opiates on an in-patient drug dependence unit. Two psychological factors--neuroticism and the degree of distress expected by the patient--were related to subsequent severity of symptoms. Both are anxiety-related, and may serve to amplify withdrawal symptoms. Surprisingly, drug dose was unrelated to symptom severity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Heroin Dependence / psychology
  • Heroin Dependence / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methadone / therapeutic use
  • Narcotics / adverse effects*
  • Neurotic Disorders / complications
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / complications
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / complications
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / psychology*


  • Narcotics
  • Methadone