Cognitive dysfunctions in patients with alcohol dependence
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Arch Psych Psych 2008;10(3):29-35
Aim. Assessment of cognitive functions connected with prefrontal cortex activity and the intensity of depression symptoms in patients with alcohol dependence after discontinuation of alcohol use and after, at least, one year of abstinence. Subjects and methods. Eighty-eight (88) patients with alcohol dependence were evaluated. In 51 subjects, an assessment was performed directly after discontinuation of alcohol drinking and in 37 subjects after, at least, one-year of abstinence. The control group consisted of 30 healthy persons, matched for age, sex and education with patients of the experimental group. The intensity of alcohol addiction was assessed, using the SADD and MAST scales, while intensity of the depression symptoms with the Beck Depression Inventory. Neuropsychological assessment included the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and the N-back test for different aspects of working memory and executive function estimations. Results. In comparison to healthy subjects significant disturbances of working memory and executive functions were noted in patients with alcohol dependence, both with short-term and long-term abstinence. No significant differences were observed between the patients with short-term and long-term abstinence on the performance on neuropsychological tests, except better results of non-perseverance errors, obtained by the patients with long-term abstinence. Longer duration time of alcohol addiction correlated with the worse performance of neuropsychological tests, while higher level of education improved performance of those tests. The intensity of depression did not correlate with the level of cognitive impairment in the neuropsychological tests. Conclusions. The obtained results indicate core and enduring cognitive deficits, connected with disturbances in prefrontal cortex activity in patients with alcohol addiction.
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