Cognitive dysfunctions in patients with alcohol dependence
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Psychiatr Pol 2007;41(5):693–702
Aim. The assessment of cognitive functions connected with prefrontal cortex activity and the intensity of depressed symptoms in patients with alcohol dependence after discontinuation of alcohol use and after a least one year of abstinence. Method. 88 patients with alcohol dependence were evaluated. In 51 subjects assessment was performed directly after discontinuation of alcohol drinking and in 37 subjects, after at least one-year of abstinence. The control group consisted in 30 healthy persons matched with age. gender and education for the experimental group. The intensity of alcohol addiction was assessed using file SADD and MAST scale, while intensity of the depression symptoms was measured with the Beck Depression Inventory. Neuropsychological assessment included the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and N-back test for different aspects of working memory and executive functions estimation. Results. Significant disturbances of working memory and executive functions in patients with alcohol dependence. both with short-term and long-term abstinence in relation to healthy subjects were noted. No significant differences between patients with short-term and long-term abstinence on the performance in neuropsychological tests was observed, except better results of nonperseverative errors obtained by patients with long-term abstinence. Longer duration of the alcohol addiction correlated with a worse, however higher level of education with a better performance in neuropsychological tests. The intensity of depression did not correlate with the level of cognitive impairment in the neuropsychological tests. Conclusios. The results obtained indicate core and enduring cognitive deficits connected with disturbances in prefrontal cortex activity in patients with alcohol addiction.