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We show that the dressed-atom approach provides a quantitative understanding of the main features of radiative dipole forces (mean value, fluctuations, velocity dependence) in the high-intensity limit where perturbative treatments are no longer valid. In an inhomogeneous laser beam, the energies of the dressed states Vary in space, and this gives rise to dressed-state-dependent forces. Spontaneous transitions between dressed states lead to a multivalued instantaneous force fluctuating around adoi:10.1364/josab.2.001707 fatcat:y5lbuiytlrck5fld527asrlpwm