THE EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL AND OPIATE ABUSE ON COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE MEASURES (NEUROPSYCHOLOGY, NEUROTOXICITY, CATEGORY TEST, RAVENS' PROGRESSIVE MATRICES)
Research concerning the cognitive functioning of opiate abusers has indicated performance deficits in visual motor and abstract thinking skills. It has also been established that alcoholics manifest these deficits. As many opiate abusers are also alcoholics, previous findings regarding the cognitive performance of opiate abusers may have been obscured by alcohol effects.^ This study was undertaken to test the cognitive abilities of opiate abusers. It was hypothesized that both opiate abusers who were alcoholics and opiate abusers who were not alcoholics would perform worse on cognitive tests than subjects who were not opiate abusers. It was also hypothesized that both alcoholics who were opiate abusers and those who were not opiate abusers would perform worse on cognitive tests than subjects who were not alcoholics.^ An opiate abuser group, an alcoholic group, a dual abuser group (alcoholic opiate abusers), and a control group of 30 subjects each were tested. The substance abusing groups, who were hospitalized, were evaluated 7 to 21 days after termination of their detoxification. The control group had no history of substance abuse. Two tests of abstract thinking, the Booklet Category Test and the Ravens' Progressive Matrices, and two tests of visual motor abilities, the Digit Symbol Test and the Block Design Test were administered.^ The results of the analyses of group performance indicated that both the Alcoholic Group and the Opiate Abuser Group performed worse on the Block Design Test than did the Control Group. No other comparisons were statistically significant. It was concluded that both opiate abusers and alcoholics had visual motor deficits in comparison to control subjects. These subjects did not have abstract thinking deficits. Subjects who abused both classes of drugs did not perform worse on cognitive tests than subjects who abused only one substance. Finally, it was suspected that the Control Group's performance was below what was expected from a normal comparison group.^ It was suggested that future research should avoid the confounding variable of substance abuse history among control subjects. The influence of low socioeconomic status on test performance and the duration of deficits among opiate abusers should also be studied. ^
RICHARD ANTHONY FILIPPONE,
"THE EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL AND OPIATE ABUSE ON COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE MEASURES (NEUROPSYCHOLOGY, NEUROTOXICITY, CATEGORY TEST, RAVENS' PROGRESSIVE MATRICES)"
(January 1, 1985).
ETD Collection for Fordham University.