Cognitive remediation therapy beneficial in treating alcohol dependence

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a condition characterized by heavy consumption of alcohol over the lifetime. It is further associated with the occurrence of physical and behavioral symptoms, including strong cravings to drink, lack of control over its usage and developing tolerance and dependence. In fact, AUD is also responsible for causing health, family and social problems.

Alcohol has become the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States. While 15.1 million adults aged 18 or older reported to be suffering from AUD in the U.S., around 1.3 million adults were treated for AUD at a specialized facility in 2015, suggested the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). About 7.7 million teenagers aged between 12–19 years were found to have consumed alcohol in the past month whereas 1.3 million teenagers were heavy alcohol users.

Alcohol dependence is known to cause severe cognitive abnormalities, however, some of these impairments are reversible. Many studies in the past have demonstrated the efficacy of cognitive remediation therapies in improving patients’ cognitive abilities including memory, recall, problem solving and attention.

What is cognitive remediation therapy?

Cognitive remediation is referred to as the behavioral treatment aimed at improving cognitive impairments. It uses different practices including compensatory and adaptive strategies, and drill and practice to bring positive changes in cognitive areas such as memory, attention and problem solving.

Cognitive remediation may help patients restore their routine functions in personal, professional and social life. A cognitive remediation program is found to improve cognitive problems, such as alert capacities, working memory, divided attention and episodic memory.

Increased social interaction improves mood and cognitive abilities

There are several research and clinical studies aimed at helping patients to reduce or quit alcohol through a variety of interventions, including medication, behavioral and alternate therapies, and social skills training. These interventions are targeted towards improving memory, executive functions and other cognitive skills.

According to a 2016 study, titled “Remediation therapy in patients with alcohol use disorders and neurocognitive disorders: A Pilot Study,” integrating cognitive remediation therapy in the treatment of alcohol dependency may help improve cognitive impairment associated with alcohol use. However, the improvements were not attributed to the therapy directly. Instead, it was an outcome of increased social interaction facilitated through the therapy, which improved patients’ cognition or state of mood. Moreover, secondary effects brought about due to closer supervision by the health professionals contributed to relieving alcohol addiction symptoms.

According to another study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (JSAD) patients receiving cognition remediation therapy during alcohol-dependence treatment experienced better psychological well-being and reduced cravings. The study suggested, “The benefits generalize to noncognitive outcomes, demonstrating that cognitive remediation may be an efficacious adjunctive intervention for the treatment of alcohol dependence.”

Road to recovery

Alcohol consumption for a longer period may lead to alcohol dependence or alcoholism, a condition when the body is unable to function without alcohol. Alcohol dependence forces a person to consume alcohol continuously, irrespective of harmful effects it poses. Long-term alcohol addiction may have harmful effects on physical and mental health, including liver damage, impaired immune system, cancer, reduced sexual performance, anxiety and depression. Alcohol addiction also affects personal and social life leading to broken relationships, loss of job and public humiliation.

It is important to get rid of alcohol addiction as early as possible through proper treatment. Timely assistance can ensure quicker recovery chances and reinstate hope of a better life. The Florida Alcohol Addiction Helpline offers credible information about alcohol addiction treatment in Florida in case you are seeking help for someone addicted to alcohol. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-220-5381 or chat online with our treatment advisors to get help in locating evidence-based alcohol rehab centers in Florida that provide personalized care through therapeutic programs.