Cognitive Function After Treatment for Alcohol Problems

Sofie Have Hoffmann, Lau Caspar Thygesen, Anne Wilkens Knudsen, Finn Zierau, Povl Ulrik Becker


Objective:The objective of this study was to assess cognitive function and the potential recovery in a group of patients with alcohol dependence (AD) in treatment for alcohol problems.

Methods:Patients with AD, fulfilling the ICD-10 diagnostic criteria, were recruited consecutively over a 9-months period from an outpatient clinic at Hvidovre University Hospital, Denmark. Patients’ (n=74) cognitive function was repeatedly assessed within 100 days after start of treatment by means of two methods: The quick test of cognitive speed (AQT) and continuous reaction time (CRT). The association between days from start of alcohol treatment and cognitive function was assessed in linear generalized estimating equation models, taking account of correlation structure in data and incomplete follow-up. All analyses were adjusted for sex, years of alcohol dependence, days of high alcohol use 30 days before start of treatment, other drug use, relapse, use of psychoactive medicine, and psychiatric diagnosis.

Results:At treatment start, 46 % of the patients displayed a normal score on both tests, 12 % of the patients had abnormal scores on both tests, and 42 % of the patients had an abnormal score on one test. Our results indicate a slight improvement of AQT reaction time over time, whereas the CRT test score was almost stable throughout the follow-up.

Discussion:We found no clinically significant improvement of cognitive function among patients with AD treated for alcohol problems. Further research of alcohol related cognitive impairments and recovery is needed to guide clinical practice in treatment of AD and timing of cognitive behavioral therapy.

Keywords:Treatment; Recovery; Alcohol Dependence; Cognitive Function; The Quick Test of Cognitive Speed; Continuous Reaction Time
TidsskriftThe Journal of Neurophysiology and Neurological Disorders
Udgave nummer104
Sider (fra-til)1-14
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2021


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