The impacts of substance abuse and dependence on neuropsychological functions in a sample of patients from Saudi Arabia
1 Al-Amal Complex for Mental Health, PO 5054, Dammam 31422, Saudia Arabia
2 Institute of Psychiatry, Ain Shams University, Abbasia, Cairo, Egypt
Behavioral and Brain Functions 2009, 5:48 doi:10.1186/1744-9081-5-48Published: 11 December 2009
A lot of studies were directed to explore the relation between drug abuse and neuropsychological functions. Some studies reported that even after a long duration of disappearance of withdrawal or intoxication symptoms, many patients have obvious deterioration of cognitive functions. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between the substance use disorders and the executive functions.
Two groups were selected for this study. An experimental group consisted of 154 patients and further subdivided according to the substance used into three different subgroups: opioid, amphetamine and alcohol groups which included 49, 56 and 49 patients respectively. The control group was selected matching the experimental group in the demographic characteristics and included 100 healthy persons. Tools used were: Benton visual retention tests, color trail making test, Stroop colors-word test, symbol digit modalities test, the five dots cognitive flexibility test, and TAM verbal flexibility test. All the data were subjected to statistical analysis
The study showed that the group of drug-dependent subjects performed significantly worse than the comparison group on all measures Also, there were significant differences among the subgroups as the alcoholic group was much worse followed by the amphetamine then the opioids groups. Patients with longer duration of dependence and multiple hospital readmissions were much worse in comparison to patients with shorter duration of dependence and less readmission.
The study confirmed that the functions of specific brain regions underlying cognitive control are significantly impaired in patients of drug addiction. This impairment was significantly related to type of substance, duration of use and number of hospitalization and may contribute to most of behavioral disturbances found in addicts and need much attention during tailoring of treatment programs.