The Effect of Drug Abstinence Program on Memory Functioning of Heroin Addicts
International Journal of Travel Medicine and Global Health
Most of our knowledge regarding the link between opioid dependence and poor cognitive functioning is derived from cross sectional studies. This longitudinal study measured the change in memory functioning following complete abstinence among individuals with heroin dependence. Methods: Using a before-after design, this study followed 30 adults with heroin dependence from entry to completion of an abstinence program (cold Turkey method). We collected data on demographic factors and drug use
... and drug use variables. Memory was measured using the Wechsler Memory Scale. Using the paired t test, we compared different domains of memory functioning (i.e. personal information, orientation, mental control, logical memory, number repetition, visual memory, associative learning and memory quotient) before and after abstinence. Results: There was a significant improvement in memory functioning on orientation, mental control, logical memory, number repetition, visual memory, association learning and memory quotient following completion of the abstinence program. The improvement, however, was not statistically significant for memory on personal information. Conclusion: This study documented improvement of memory functioning among heroin dependent adults following complete abstinence (cold turkey method). Further research is needed on the effect of heroin abstinence on memory functioning.