Neuropsychology Review

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 21–39 | Cite as

Cognitive rehabilitation of chronic alcohol abusers

  • Daniel N. Allen
  • Gerald Goldstein
  • Brent E. Seaton


The current literature suggests that individuals who chronically abuse alcohol exhibit a wide variety of cognitive deficits resulting from cerebral dysfunction that is either directly or indirectly related to their alcohol consumption history. Cognitive deficits have been hypothesized as having implications for standard alcohol treatment efficacy as they may directly affect cognitively impaired individuals’ abilities to utilize various treatment modalities. Although evidence is accumulating that suggests this is actually the case, the majority of alcohol treatment programs neither directly consider the impact cognitive deficits have on treatment efficacy nor do they employ cognitive rehabilitation treatment strategies to remediate identified cognitive deficits. Few studies exist that investigate the remediability of neurobehavioral deficits or the efficacy of integrating cognitive rehabilitation strategies into more traditional treatment programs. Empirical investigations conducted to date indicate that some cognitive deficiencies secondary to alcoholism are amenable to cognitive rehabilitation and this remediation is generalizable. Rigorous well-controlled treatment outcome investigations are needed in order to determine the efficacy of cognitive rehabilitation techniques in naturalistic settings using ecological outcome measures. Also, emphasis should be placed on integrating cognitive rehabilitation techniques with proven efficacy into traditional alcoholism treatment programs.

Key words

Alcoholism treatment outcome cognitive rehabilitation 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel N. Allen
    • 1
    • 4
  • Gerald Goldstein
    • 2
    • 5
  • Brent E. Seaton
    • 3
  1. 1.Psychology ServiceHighland Drive VA Medical CenterUSA
  2. 2.Medical Research ServiceHighland Drive VA Medical CenterUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South DakotaVermillion
  4. 4.Department of NeurologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh

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