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Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2014 Feb;29(1):26-37. doi: 10.1093/arclin/act090. Epub 2013 Dec 13.

Neurocognitive deficits, craving, and abstinence among alcohol-dependent individuals following detoxification.

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Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, The Alfred and Monash University, Central Clinical School, Prahran, Victoria, Australia.


Alcohol dependence, a chronic relapsing disorder, is characterized by an impaired ability to regulate compulsive urges to consume alcohol. Very few empirical studies have examined the presence of these executive deficits, how they relate to craving, and the enduring nature of these deficits during abstinence. As such, the current study aimed to characterize these cognitive deficits within a sample of 24 alcohol-dependent participants post-detoxification and 23 non-alcohol-dependent participants. Participants were administered the Sustained Attention to Response Task to measure response inhibition and sustained attention and the Random Number Generation Task to examine executive deficits. Correlations between cognitive performance and clinical measures of alcohol dependence were examined. As predicted, the alcohol-dependent group exhibited poorer performance across the domains of response inhibition, executive function, and attentional control. Cognitive performance was related to clinical measures of craving and years of alcohol consumption, whereas the duration of abstinence was not associated with improved cognitive performance. These findings highlight the need for therapeutic strategies to target these enduring neurocognitive deficits in improving the treatment of alcohol dependence.


Alcohol dependence; Attentional control; Cognitive recovery; Craving; Frontostriatal dysfunction; Neurocognitive deficits

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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