Smoking hampers recovery during abstinence from alcohol

New York:  People who want to get rid of alcohol dependence but cannot quit smoking may not achieve full neuro-cognitive recovery, said a study.

It showed that smoking influenced the rate and level of neuro-cognitive recovery in treatment-seeking alcohol dependent individuals (ALC) during the first eight months of sustained abstinence from alcohol.

For the study, researchers examined 133 ALC participants – 30 had never smoked, 28 were former smokers and 75 were active smokers as well as 39 never-smoking ‘control’ participants.

Approximately 89 percent of the participants were male.

They found that overall, the ALC as a group showed the greatest rate of recovery on most abilities during the first month of abstinence.

“Over eight months of sustained abstinence from alcohol, active-smoking ALC showed poorer recovery than never-smoking ALC on measures of learning,” said Timothy C. Durazzo, associate professor at the University of California – San Francisco in the US.

Both former-smoking ALC and active-smoking ALC recovered less than never-smoking ALC on processing speed measures.

“In addition, after eight months of abstinence, active-smoking ALC performed worse than both controls and never-smoking ALC on most measures,” Durazzo added.

Overall, the findings indicated never-smoking ALC showed full recovery on all measures after eight months of sustained abstinence from alcohol.

This suggests that significant cognitive recovery is possible during sustained abstinence from alcohol sans smoking, the researchers concluded.

The study is set to appear in journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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