The Effect of Cognitive Rehabilitation on the Neuropsychological Status of Patients in Drug Abuse Treatment Who Display Neurocognitive Impairment

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Patients engaged in drug abuse treatment who also had cognitive impairment (N=72), mandated by the criminal justice system to complete at least 6 months of treatment in a residential program, were randomly assigned to one of four groups. One group of patients (n = 18) received 2 hours of computer-assisted cognitive rehabilitation per week over a 6-month period; a second group (n= 18) received 2 hours of progressive muscle relaxation per week over a 6-month period; a third group (n = 18) was taught typing on a computer; and a fourth group (n = 18) received no treatment beyond that provided by the program. All patients were tested with a neuropsychological test battery upon admission and at monthly intervals thereafter for 6 months. Results indicated that residents in the cognitive rehabilitation group demonstrated a faster rate of cognitive recovery during the first 2 months of treatment and had more efficient cognitive functioning over the first 4 months of residence. These patients were also rated as more “appropriately participatory” in the treatment program by the clinical staff. Clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

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