Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Extensive studies have shown that acute and chronic use of opioids is related to cognitive impairments in different aspects. This study aims to explore impairments in executive functions among opioid users, focusing on cognitive impulsivity, cognitive flexibility, spatial working memory, and verbal working memory, as well as investigating the potential reversibility of these impairments under conditions of methadone maintenance treatment. In a sample including active opioid users, methadone maintenance patients, and healthy controls from downtown Los Angeles who do not meet exclusion criteria, the research will employ four tasks and scales to evaluate and compare executive functioning among these groups. Also, a longitudinal aspect will track changes in executive functioning performance among methadone patients over a 90-day period. It is expected that active opioid users and methadone maintenance patients will exhibit worse performance in executive functioning compared to healthy controls, with methadone patients outperforming active users, even when considering the history of head injuries. Additionally, it is expected that within the user groups, there will be a negative correlation between the frequency of overdoses, length of opioid use, and executive functioning. The study also anticipates an improvement of executive functioning in methadone maintenance patients over a 90-day period. This research hopes to increase awareness about the cognitive risks associated with opioid use and inform more effective treatment strategies for opioid addiction by emphasizing cognitive rehabilitation as a component of recovery.
Zhao, Jingxiu, "Cognitive Impairments and Reversibility Among Opioid Users" (2023). Scripps Senior Theses. 2219.