The effect of alcohol on the neuropsychological functioning of recently abstinent cocaine-dependent subjects

Am J Addict. Mar-Apr 2005;14(2):166-78. doi: 10.1080/10550490590924854.


Neuropsychological deficits in the areas of learning, memory, attention, and abstraction abilities have been associated with cocaine dependence, especially during the period of early abstinence. Although cocaine users tend to be multidrug users, few studies have focused on the combined effect of alcohol and cocaine on neuropsychological functioning. Consistent with prior research, results from the current study indicated that cocaine-dependent subjects showed a significantly greater degree of neuropsychological impairment as compared to controls. In addition, cocaine-dependent subjects with a history of alcohol disorder showed less memory impairment but similar impairments in attention and overall neuropsychological functioning as cocaine subjects with no such history. The vasodilatation produced by alcohol may attenuate some of the vasoconstriction and neurotoxic effects of cocaine, accounting for the fewer deficits in this group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Cognition Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Connecticut / epidemiology
  • Crack Cocaine / adverse effects*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / psychology*
  • Temperance*
  • Time Factors


  • Crack Cocaine