Neuropsychological rehabilitation in alcohol-related brain damage: a systematic review

Alcohol Alcohol. 2013 Nov-Dec;48(6):704-11. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agt131. Epub 2013 Aug 16.


Aims: The evidence base for rehabilitating alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD) is still in its infancy. The aim of this review was to collate evidence of intervention studies for ARBD and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS), to offer some indication of methodological quality, and to suggest directions for future research in this area.

Methods: A comprehensive search strategy resulted in systematic review of 16 studies investigating neurorehabilitation of cognitive impairment relating to ARBD.

Results: Most studies addressed rehabilitation of the memory impairments associated with Korsakoff's syndrome, although one study seeking to remediate executive functioning impairment was also included. Three studies outlining service models or approaches were included, with the aim of generating advances in service development for this population.

Conclusion: The reviewed studies were of varying methodology, allowing only tentative conclusions. However, the available evidence suggested benefits of a number of memory rehabilitation strategies. Options for practice are suggested.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation*
  • Brain Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Brain Diseases / psychology
  • Brain Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Cognition Disorders / chemically induced
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Executive Function / physiology
  • Humans
  • Korsakoff Syndrome / psychology
  • Korsakoff Syndrome / rehabilitation
  • Learning / physiology
  • Memory Disorders / chemically induced
  • Memory Disorders / psychology
  • Memory Disorders / therapy
  • Self-Help Devices