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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:19 pm 
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Hey guys. I kinda wanted to bring this up for a while, but put it off because I wasn't sure whether it was in my head. But this recent study gave me good reason to get off my ass and do it.

In a nutshell, it's found that people on maintenance have poorer cognitive performance on a number of clinical tests compared to those who chose abstinence. What surprised me was that the results are no different whether you're on methadone or Suboxone

It's a pretty good motivator for me to get want to get off the shit. But the real question the study doesn't answer is whether the impairment is reversible once you go off Sub? Lillyval brought up this issue a while back and said she felt a lot better after she got off Sub. Hopefully she's around to give her experience.

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Abstract

Background
To compare the cognitive performances of maintenance patients (MAIN), abstinent ex-users (ABST) and healthy non-heroin using controls (CON).


Methods

Case control study of 125 MAIN (94 subjects maintained on methadone, 31 on buprenorphine), 50 ABST and 50 CON. Neuropsychological tests measuring executive function, working memory, information processing speed, verbal learning and non-verbal learning were administered.


Results

There were no differences between the cognitive profiles of those maintained on methadone or buprenorphine on any administered test. After controlling for confounders, the MAIN group had poorer performance than controls in six of the 13 administered tests, and were poorer than the ABST group in five. The MAIN group exhibited poorer performance in the Haylings Sentence Completion, Matrix Reasoning, Digit Symbol, Logical Memory (immediate and delayed recall), and the Complex Figure Test (immediate recall). There were no differences between the ABST and CON groups on any of the administered tests.


Conclusions

Poorer cognitive performance, across a range of test and domains, was seen amongst maintenance patients, regardless of their maintenance drug. This is a group that is likely might benefit from approaches for managing individuals with cognitive and behavioural difficulties arising from brain dysfunction.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:01 am 
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Although I don't believe that I'm noticeably cognitively impaired, I have noticed that I have a harder time locating the word I want to use when speaking. I had been attributing that to aging (not that 41 is old), but perhaps it has more to do with the sub. I wonder if impairment decreases proportionally to decrease in dosage. I'm sure that there will be more studies about this subject and I hope more light is shed on sub's side effects.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:17 am 
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It's really hard to tell from these summaries they put up online. But there are some confounding factors like ... the fact that people who require maintenance are often more dependent in the first place, so have probably used more drugs and fried themselves a bit more. I think it's also a shame that more people on buprenorphine weren't tested. But 30 people should be enough to get a pattern.

It'd be interesting to hear from the people who've gone off Sub, whether they noticed any differences once they got off.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:57 pm 
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The results of the study state, "the MAIN group had poorer performance than controls in six of the 13 administered tests, and were poorer than the ABST group in five." My question is, how much poorer? Did the MAIN group all score down at the imbecile level? I highly doubt it. I'm going to guess that the MAIN group was only slightly lower on their scores. I would imagine if the scores were significantly different, they would have mentioned that.

Personally, as far as cognitive ability, I can't say I've noticed too much difference from when I was on Suboxone vs. being off of it. But then again, I don't really have anything concrete to measure that by. I do seem to be able to recall memories better now that I'm off Suboxone. If I try and go back in my mind and remember things about my daughter while I was on Suboxone, it's pretty difficult. It's like it's blank. If I try recalling memories from the time I got off Suboxone up until today, those memories seem to be much more available to me.

This is an interesting topic, it would be nice to see more detailed info on it.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:42 pm 
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I was on subs for 3 years and then tapered off and stayed abstinent on drugs for 1-1/2 years. During that time I was clear headed more so than on the subs. But... after a year and a half of abstinence, I had mental cravings to get back on opiates. The cravings outweighed the cloudy headed feeling. I would rather have a heady kind of feeling than clear headed and mentally tortured by the thoughts of getting drugs. And I felt that over time, my head did get adjusted to the clouded feeling and I did not feel that it would prevent me from ever getting off subs again.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:58 pm 
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Cognitively speaking, I don't really notice any difference from when I was on sub to now. I will say that my memory sucks in general. I have a hard time remembering times in my life that I should be able to remember. Long term memory sort of stuff. But I don't know if that is from drugs, maintenance, blocking stuff out subconsciously or just getting older.


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 Post subject: neurotoxins
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:09 pm 
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Since addicts generally have lower gut issues, and we know that neurotoxins are produced when there's an imbalance of bacteria in the gut. So maybe we are slowly compromising, our cognitive powers.
I'd like to see if bacteria counts correspond with the results.
Recovery wise I think it's really important, to have our memory in good nick, cause the good memories can lift your spirit and distract you from your current situation, just like the bad ones can pursuade you to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Recent studies have shown that Autism and neurotoxins produced in the gut, are strongly linked.


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