[Alcohol-related neuropsychological impairments: Nature, impact and detection]

Presse Med. 2016 Dec;45(12 Pt 1):1124-1132. doi: 10.1016/j.lpm.2016.01.030. Epub 2016 Mar 30.
[Article in French]


Alcohol-related neuropsychological deficits result from chronic and excessive alcohol consumption and are associated with structural and functional damage of Papez's circuit and frontocerebellar circuit. Alcohol-related cognitive deficits are heterogeneous but especially affect executive functions and memory abilities. They result in difficulties to change alcohol behavior combined with a tendency for patients to overestimate their capacity to succeed. Alcohol-related cognitive deficits could be a risk-factor for relapse since they hamper patients to benefit fully from treatment (especially when based on relapse prevention). Screening tools usable by non-psychologists are available and can be completed by an extensive neuropsychological examination conducted by a neuropsychologist when necessary. Alcohol treatment should be adjusted to take alcohol-related cognitive deficits into account, by promoting longer treatment in healthy environment for example. Improvements of alcohol treatment options, including specific neuropsychological rehabilitation, are required for patients with persistent alcohol-related cognitive deficits.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis
  • Brain Diseases / etiology*
  • Brain Diseases / therapy
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / therapy
  • Decision Trees
  • Humans