One Year Sobriety after Polysubstance Abuse Equals Increased Life Satisfaction and Cognitive Functioning
According to a new study, individuals who suffer from a polysubstance disorder can gain significant mental and emotional benefits By remaining sober for one full year. Benefits include increased satisfaction with life decreased psychological distress, improved cognition, and a boost in executive brain functioning – a process that helps one make decisions and achieve goals.
For the study, which was published recently in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, questionnaires were administered at the onset of the study and then again after one year. Researchers used the Satisfaction With Life Scale to gather data, which a questionnaire commonly by psychology professionals.
Using this tool, researchers found that those persons who remained sober for a full year benefited from four times as many points in life satisfaction as those who suffered a relapse.
Executive functioning was evaluated in a similar manner. Participants completed a questionnaire known as the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, a tool that uses three different methods of scoring. Then, psychology distress was evaluated using a self-report that assesses symptoms associated with the condition.
Polysubstance use disorder is defined as a substance use disorder that involves the abuse of multiple drugs and/or alcohol. The disorder is common in those who seek treatment for addiction, and places individuals at a heightened risk of incurring other psychological symptoms such as impaired cognitive functioning.
In total, 115 people with substance use disorders from ten addiction recovery clinics were recruited. Researchers examined patients who stayed abstinent and also those who relapsed during the year. Persons with a substance use disorder were culled from drug rehabs, and healthy patients were also recruited for reference data.
Persons with substance use disorders were found to have psychiatric symptoms, impairment in cognitive functioning, and poorer treatment results. However, those who remained abstinent for the 12-month period reported improved life satisfaction and less psychological distress than others. They also scored higher in executive functioning.
This information may be a good motivator for people entering recovery, as it reveals how critical it is to remain sober long-term for mental and emotional benefits.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology