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The Cognitive Functioning of Comorbid Psychotic and Substance Use Disorder Patients Open Access

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The purpose of this study is to compare the cognitive functioning of comorbid psychotic disorder and substance use disorder (CO; n = 81) patients to that of psychotic disorder (PD; n = 30) and substance use disorder (SUD; n = 59) patients. Performances on cognitive domains of processing speed, attention/vigilance, working memory, verbal learning and memory, visual learning and memory, and reasoning/problem solving were evaluated between: 1) CO vs. PD and SUD and 2) PD vs. SUD groups. Results show that CO patients did not perform significantly worse than PD and SUD patients on the cognitive domains. CO patients even performed significantly better than PD and SUD patients on reasoning/problem solving tasks. SUD patients performed better than PD patients on verbal memory. These findings are congruent with the enhancement model, indicating that psychotic disorder patients' cognition may be strengthened from substance use. One may suggest that it is the cognitively stronger psychotic disorder patients who are interested in or successful at finding substances. More surprisingly, results demonstrate that SUD patients may have cognitive impairments as severe as PD patients.

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