Abstract

To date, there are few large-scale studies that have examined the relationship between duration of abstinence and cognitive functioning in polysubstance-dependent individuals. Existing large-scale studies of polysubstance abusers have reported only minimal recovery of cognitive functioning with abstinence [Arch. Gen. Psychiatry 35 (1978) 1063]. The goal of this study is to test whether length of abstinence (1 day and 14 months) is related to cognitive ability in a large cross-sectional sample of men recovering from dependence on at least two drugs (N=207). A series of Poisson and linear regressions were run to test whether length of abstinence is associated with neuropsychological performance while controlling for demographic variables, raw Vocabulary score, drug use, and dependency. The primary finding is that increasing length of abstinence was not statistically associated with superior neuropsychological ability. This suggests that the abuse of multiple substances potentially produces long-lasting neuropsychological impairment with minimal recovery of functioning over a 1-year period.