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CLINICAL STUDIES OF DRUG ADDICTION PHYSICAL DEPENDENCE, WITHDRAWAL AND RECOVERY

C. K. HIMMELSBACH, M.D.
Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1942;69(5):766-772. doi:10.1001/archinte.1942.00200170048004.
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ABSTRACT

The mechanisms of tolerance to and dependence on narcotic drugs are not known, but the studies of Light and Torrance1 furnished ample proof that the addict can withstand tremendous amounts of morphine and that while receiving morphine in amounts adequate to his addiction needs, the addict is practically normal from a physiologic point of view.2 Withdrawal of morphine, however, precipitates a characteristic syndrome of signs and symptoms indicating significant disturbance of many body functions.3 After a few stormy days the recovery process becomes evident, and after several weeks patients appear to have recovered physically. However, the clinical impression at this hospital has been that six to nine months of total abstinence is requisite to adequate recovery. Since objective data on the recovery process were needed to establish this, a longitudinal study was undertaken in which a number of observations were made on a group of patients during

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