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Autobiographical Memory Deficits in Alcohol-Dependent Patients with Short- and Long-Term Abstinence

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Autobiographical memory (AM) enables the storage and retrieval of life experiences that allow individuals to build their sense of identity. Several AM impairments have been described in patients with alcohol abuse disorders without assessing whether such deficits can be recovered. This cross-sectional study aimed to identify whether the semantic (SAM) and episodic (EAM) dimensions of AM are affected in individuals with alcohol dependence after short-term abstinence (STA) or long-term abstinence (LTA). A second aim of this study was to examine the factors that could disrupt the efficiency of semantic and episodic AM (the impact of depression severity, cognitive functions, recent or early traumatic events, and drinking history variables). METHODS: After clinical and cognitive evaluations (alcohol consumption, depression, anxiety, IQ, memory performance), AM was assessed with the Autobiographical Memory Interview in patients with recent (between 4 and 6 weeks) and longer (at least 6 months) abstinence. Participants were asked to retrieve the number and nature of traumatic or painful life experiences in recent or early life periods (using the Childhood Traumatic Events Scale). RESULTS: The 2 abstinent groups had lower global EAM and SAM scores than the control group. These scores were comparable for both abstinent groups. For childhood events, no significant differences were observed in SAM for both groups compared with control participants. For early adulthood and recent events, both STA and LTA groups had lower scores on both SAM and EAM. Moreover, there was a negative correlation between the length of substance consumption and SAM scores. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlighted a specific AM disorder in both episodic and semantic dimensions. These deficits remained after 6 months of abstinence. This AM impairment may be explained by compromised encoding and consolidation of memories during bouts of drinking.
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Soumis le : mardi 26 novembre 2019 - 16:48:33
Dernière modification le : lundi 8 février 2021 - 10:27:08

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Jean-Louis Nandrino, Mohamad El Haj, Julie Torre, Delphine Naye, Helyette Douchet, et al.. Autobiographical Memory Deficits in Alcohol-Dependent Patients with Short- and Long-Term Abstinence. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Wiley, 2016, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 40 (4), pp.865-873. ⟨10.1111/acer.13001⟩. ⟨hal-02381601⟩



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