(HealthDay News) – High cognitive functioning enhances one’s readiness to change addictive behavior, according to a study published in the September issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Anne-Pascale Le Berre, from the Université de Caen Basse-Normandie in France, and colleagues surveyed 31 alcohol-dependent patients after detoxification and at alcohol treatment entry using a “readiness to change” questionnaire. A neuropsychological battery was also administered to the patients and 37 healthy controls.

The researchers found that the mean score on the action subscale was significantly higher than the precontemplation and contemplation subscale scores for the group of alcohol-dependent patients. When analyzed by the individual, some alcohol-dependent patients were still in the earlier precontemplation and contemplation stages. Memory and executive function impairment was linked to low motivation, while good decision-making skills were associated with high motivation.

“Our results suggest that a set of complementary cognitive abilities is needed to achieve awareness and resolve ambivalence toward alcohol addiction, which is essential for activating the desire to change problematic behavior,” the authors write.

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