Neuropsychological consequences of alcohol and drug abuse on different components of executive functions

Departamento de Personalidad, Evaluación y Tratamiento Psicológico, Universidad de Granada, Campus de Cartuja, s/n, 18071 Granada, Spain.
Journal of Psychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.59). 12/2009; 24(9):1317-32. DOI: 10.1177/0269881109349841
Source: PubMed


Several studies have shown alterations in different components of executive functioning in users of different drugs, including cannabis, cocaine and heroin. However, it is difficult to establish a specific association between the use of each of these drugs and executive alterations, since most drug abusers are polysubstance abusers, and alcohol is a ubiquitous confounding factor. Moreover, in order to study the association between consumption of different drugs and executive functioning, the patterns of quantity and duration of drugs used must be considered, given the association between these parameters and the executive functioning alteration degree. Based on the multicomponent approach to executive functions, the aims of the present study were: (i) to analyse the differential contribution of alcohol versus cocaine, heroin and cannabis use on executive functions performance; and (ii) to analyse the contribution made by the severity of the different drugs used (quantity and duration patterns) on these functions in a sample of polysubstance abusers that requested treatment for cannabis-, cocaine- or heroin-related problems. We administered measures of fluency, working memory, analogical reasoning, interference, cognitive flexibility, decision-making and self-regulation to two groups: 60 substance-dependent individuals (SDIs) and 30 healthy control individuals (HCIs). SDIs had significantly poorer performance than HCIs across all of the executive domains assessed. Results from hierarchical regression models showed the existence of common correlates of the use of alcohol, cannabis and cocaine on verbal fluency and decision-making; common correlates of quantity of cannabis and cocaine use on verbal working memory and analogical reasoning; common correlates of duration of cocaine and heroin use on shifting; and specific effects of duration of cocaine use on inhibition measures. These findings indicate that alcohol abuse is negatively associated with fluency and decision-making deficits, whereas the different drugs motivating treatment have both generalized and specific deleterious effects on different executive components.

40 Reads
  • Source
    • "Working memory is one of the specific and well-researched " cold " executive function that keeps competing considerations " online " (Kane and Engle, 2002). The working memory deficit we found in heroin addicts is in keeping with the present literature consistently demonstrating significant deficits of working memory in heroin abusers (Ersche et al., 2006; Fernández-Serrano et al., 2010; Fishbein et al., 2007; Ornstein et al., 2000; Verdejo-García and Pérez-García, 2007). More interestingly, we found that longer duration of prior heroin use correlated significantly with worse working memory (concrete/verbal component) in HAs, and that this deficit was not alleviated by abstinence. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cognitive deficits are observed both in heroin dependence and in pathological gambling (PG) on various tasks. PG, as a non-substance addiction, is free of toxic consequences of drug use. Therefore a direct neurocognitive comparison of heroin addicts and pathological gamblers helps dissociate the consequences of chronic heroin use on cognitive function from the cognitive vulnerabilities that predispose addiction. A case-control design was used, comparing 58 abstinent heroin addicts, 58 pathological gamblers, and 60 healthy controls on working memory and affective decision-making functions. Working memory was assessed using the Self-ordered Pointing Test (SOPT). Affective decision-making was measured by the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). Heroin addicts performed significantly worse both on the IGT and on the SOPT, compared to healthy controls. Pathological gamblers performed worse on the IGT than healthy controls, but did not differ from controls on the SOPT. Years of heroin use were negatively correlated with working memory and affective decision-making performance in heroin addicts, while severity of gambling was not significantly correlated with any task performance in pathological gamblers. Our findings indicate that deficits in affective decision-making shared by heroin dependence and PG putatively represent vulnerabilities to addiction and that working memory deficits detected only in heroin addicts may be identified as heroin-specific harmful effects.
    Drug and alcohol dependence 10/2013; 134(1). DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.09.027 · 3.42 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "This is surprising given that both religious belief and alcohol consumption are highly prevalent cultural practices in our society (Gallup 2011; Newport 2010) with a shared hypothesized mediator linking them to aggression (e.g., Bremner, Koole, and Bushman 2011; Pihl and Sutton, 2009): self-regulatory ability (Baumeister and Exline 1999; Baumeister and Vohs 2004; McCullough and Willoughby 2009). Alcohol is well known to disrupt self-regulatory processes (Fernandez-Serrano et al. 2010; Heatherton and Wagner 2011; Pihl and Sutton 2009), and there is evidence that men with impaired self-regulatory skills are at increased risk for alcohol-related aggression (Giancola 2004). In recent years, evidence has come to light suggesting that beneficial aspects of religiosity may also be mediated by self-regulatory ability (Desmond, Ulmer, and Bader 2008; McCullough and Willoughby 2009; Rounding et al. 2012; Walker et al. 2007; Welch, Tittle, and Grasmick 2006) and self-monitoring (McCullough and Willoughby 2009; Randolph-Seng and Nielsen 2007; Shariff and Norenzayan 2007; Wenger 2007), which is a central component of self-regulation (Baumeister and Exline 1999). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The relationship between religion and violence is controversial. Discrepant findings exist between survey studies and the limited number of experimental investigations of religiosity's influence on aggressive behavior. We have attempted to resolve this discrepancy by addressing previous limitations in the literature and assessing a heretofore-untested moderator of religiosity and aggression: alcohol intoxication. This investigation included a community sample of 251 men and 269 women randomly assigned to either an acute alcohol intoxication condition or a placebo condition. Participants completed a series of questions drawn from standardized instruments of religiosity and spirituality prior to competing on an aggression laboratory paradigm in which electric shocks were received from, and administered to, a fictitious opponent under the guise of a competitive reaction-time task. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed a significant beverage-by-religiosity interaction. Religiosity predicted lower levels of aggression for participants in the placebo group and higher levels of aggression for intoxicated participants. Results indicated that high religiosity coupled with alcohol intoxication may be a risk factor for aggression. This novel finding may help to clarify previous discrepancies in studies of religiosity and aggression.
    Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 06/2013; 52(2):279-792. DOI:10.1111/jssr.12029 · 1.35 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Additionally, it was recently demonstrated that dopamine neurotransmission is critically involved in encoding, consolidation, and retrieval of declarative memory (Breitenstein et al., 2006a; 2006b; Morris et al., 2003; Whiting et al., 2007; 2008). Consequently, neuropsychological impairment has been consistently reported for cocaine-dependent subjects across several areas of cognitive functioning, including attention and executive function, verbal learning and memory (Fernandez-Serrano et al., 2009; Goldstein et al., 2004; Kelley et al., 2005; Woicik et al., 2009). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Specific blue-yellow colour vision impairment has been reported in dependent cocaine users and it was postulated that drug-induced changes in retinal dopamine neurotransmission are responsible. However, it is unclear whether these changes are confined to chronic cocaine users, whether they are specific for dopaminergic stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamine and whether they are related to cognitive functions such as working memory, encoding and consolidation. In 47 occasional and 29 dependent cocaine users, 23 MDMA (commonly known as 'ecstasy') users and 47 stimulant-naive controls, colour vision discrimination was measured with the Lanthony Desaturated Panel D-15 Test and memory performance with the Auditory Verbal Learning Test. Both occasional and dependent cocaine users showed higher colour confusion indices than controls. Users of the serotonergic stimulant MDMA (26%), occasional (30%) and dependent cocaine users (34%) exhibited more frequent blue-yellow colour vision disorders compared to controls (9%). Inferior performance of MDMA users was caused by a subgroup with high amphetamine co-use (55%), while MDMA use alone was not associated with decreased blue-yellow discrimination (0%). Cognitive performance was worse in cocaine users with colour vision disorder compared to users and controls with intact colour vision and both colour vision impairment and cognitive deficits were related to cocaine use. Occasional cocaine and amphetamine use might induce blue-yellow colour vision impairment, whereas the serotonergic stimulant MDMA does not impair colour vision. The association between colour vision impairment and cognitive deficits in cocaine users may reflect that retinal and cerebral dopamine alterations are linked to a certain degree.
    The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 06/2012; 16(3):1-13. DOI:10.1017/S1461145712000624 · 4.01 Impact Factor
Show more

Similar Publications