Cognitive Impairment

Some individuals with a chronic drinking history develop cognitive impairment while other individuals with identical drinking histories do not.  The progression to cognitive impairment is not highly correlated with the length of the drinking history and amount consumed (Shelly and Goldstein, 1976).

It is well confirmed that individuals with a positive family history for alcoholism develop more severe cognitive dysfunction than individuals with a negative family history (Schaeffer et al., 1998).  Women appear to be more vulnerable to alcoholism than men.  Therefore genetic makeup and gender do influence outcome.