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Volume 42 Number 2, March/April 2005
Pages 225 — 234

Abstract - Rehabilitation during alcohol detoxication in comorbid neuropsychiatric patients

Gerald Goldstein, PhD;* Gretchen L. Haas, PhD; Wendy Jo Shemansky, BA; Belinda Barnett, PhD;
Sara Salmon-Cox, MS, OTR/L

Veterans Integrated Service Network 4 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Department
of Veterans Affairs (VA) Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA
Abstract — For this study, we evaluated the effectiveness of a cognitive training program in improving cognitive function in patients with alcoholism comorbid with another neuropsychiatric disorder and going through the subacute phase of detoxication. We employed a randomized clinical trial design in which 20 subjects were assigned to a five-session cognitive rehabilitation program and 20 subjects were assigned to an attention placebo control condition. All subjects received a battery of cognitive tests for reasoning, attention, and visual-spatial abilities. These tests were repeated at the completion of the study. The training consisted of a number of component tasks designed to improve attention, speed of information processing, perceptual analysis, and visual-spatial cognition. We plotted performance on training results across sessions to detect evidence of learning effects. Comparisons of the cognitive tests revealed greater improvement in the training as compared to the attention placebo group on measures of attention and conceptual flexibility. We concluded that the training produced significant improvement over and above natural recovery during detoxication.
Key words: attention control condition, cognitive rehabilitation, comorbid alcohol abuse, detoxication, dual diagnosis, intervention, memory, neuropsychology, rehabilitation, veteran.

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