Neuropsychological functioning in cocaine abusers with and without alcohol dependence

J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 1999 Jan;5(1):10-9. doi: 10.1017/s1355617799511028.


Thirty codependent cocaine and alcohol users were compared with age-, education-, race-, and sex-matched cocaine abusers (N = 30) and normals (N = 30) using an extended Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Test Battery to determine whether cocaine abusers with alcohol dependence were more cognitively impaired than singly addicted cocaine abusers. Tests were grouped and analyzed according to 8 major ability areas. Participants who abused both cocaine and alcohol did not differ from normals on the majority of test measures. An unexpected but consistent finding was the poorer performance of the cocaine sample relative to cocaine and alcohol abusers on measures of complex psychomotor and simple motor functioning (ps < .001). Pure cocaine abusers, but not abusers of both cocaine and alcohol, also performed more poorly than normals on a measure of global neuropsychological functioning (p < .01). These results are consistent with previous reports of generally mild cognitive dysfunction in cocaine abusers. The findings also suggest that cocaine and alcohol abusers of relatively young ages may be less cognitively impaired than demographically comparable cocaine abusers. Evidence from studies of vascular functioning in abusers of cocaine and alcohol alone and in combination is discussed as possible explanation for these findings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Cognition Disorders / chemically induced
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reference Values