A family history of alcoholism has been demonstrated to be an important factor affecting cognitive function. However, no studies have yet been conducted to compare cognitive recovery of family history-positive (FH+) and family history-negative (FH-) alcoholics in the subacute withdrawal period. To tackle this problem, a neuropsychological test battery consisting of six computerized tests was administered to 19 FH+ and 20 FH- alcoholics at 2 and 7 weeks after abstinence. At 2 weeks after abstinence, overall performance of both FH+ and FH- groups was significantly poorer than that of healthy controls. At 7 weeks, these performances tended to recover, but in Trail Making A and Figure Position, performances of FH+ alcoholics remained worse than those of controls, while those of FH- alcoholics did not. Thus cognitive recovery during the subacute withdrawal period was worse among FH+ alcoholics than FH- alcoholics, and this finding should be considered when planning alcohol rehabilitation programs.
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