Impulsivity and decision making in alcohol-addicted individuals
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Psychiatr Pol 2013;47(2):325–332
Alcohol addiction is a disease associated with unfavorable decision making, in spite of its negative consequences. Impulsivity plays an important role in decision making of alcoholaddicted individuals. It can be understood in terms of behavioral and/or cognitive flexibility disorders, that manifest in cognitive dysfunctions, making quick and adequate situation assessment and adjustment of behavior according to its condition, difficult or even impossible. Neurobiological and genetic studies indicate at the existing relationship between impulsivity and certain genetic predisposition. In alcohol addicts, impulsivity can be understood also in terms of specific personality traits. Although the concept of impulsivity itself, has been the main topic of many studies, not many of them concern also decision-making processes. In studies concerning decision making in alcoholism, the relationship between this processes and behavioral impulsivity defined in many different ways, has been noticed. Some of these works define disturbances in decision-making processes itself, as a feature of impulsivity. On the basis of the results of theoretical works and research studies, it seems that there would be worth to define more precisely the concept of impulsivity, in order to determine its effect on decision making. It would be also worth to assess, whether and to what extent, the two variables (impulsivity and decision making) can be considered as separate.