This study investigates changes in neuropsychological functioning during early abstinence from alcohol. 30 alcohol-dependent inpatients were tested at intake (day 4 of admission) and post detoxification (day 26), using a test-retest design. The neuropsychological battery included measures of pre-morbid IQ, full-scale IQ, verbal and non-verbal measures of memory and executive function. IQ was within the normal range at intake and comparable with age-adjusted normative values and there were some impairments in memory and executive function. There were significant increases in performance scores post detoxification in working memory, verbal fluency and verbal inhibition but not in non-verbal executive function tasks (mental flexibility and planning ability). Despite increased scores on tests of verbal and memory skills after 3 weeks of abstinence, complex executive abilities showed little change. These may have a negative impact on engagement and response to treatment and compromise clinical outcomes, heightening the risk of relapse. Copyright (C) 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel.
- cognitive impairment
- executive functioning
- neuropsychological impairment, recovery
- neuropsychological functioning
- alcohol dependence