Do you have the habit of taking four or more alcohol drinks a day or indulging in drug abuse such as cocaine? Beware, it may lead to impairments in mental skills such as decision-making and planning, researchers have warned.
The study showed that the frequency of binge drinking and use of marijuana, cocaine, opioids, sedatives and tranquillizers and stimulants may cause deficits in attention and executive functioning in both men and women.
“Regardless if cognitive impairments precede substance use or vice versa, poorer cognitive functioning negatively impacts daily life and may cause lack of insight into one’s substance use as a source of problems, impeding treatment utilisation or decreasing the likelihood of effective treatment,” said Deborah Hasin, Professor at the Columbia University Medical Centre (CUMC).
Poorer attention was linked with frequent and infrequent binge drinking and use of drugs, in particular, stimulants.
A lower score on an executive functioning scale was associated with frequent binge drinking and drug use, cocaine in particular.
This may also affect one’s ability to function well in important interpersonal or occupational areas such as limiting the thought process and the ability to multi-task, the researchers said.
For the study, published online in the journal Addiction, the team analysed data from 36,085 respondents to create two cognitive scales based on dimensionality and reliability.
Complete abstinence or reduced substance use may lead to gradual improvement in cognition, Hasin said.