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Cognitive impairment in older people with alcohol use disorders in a UK community mental health service

Rahul Rao (Department of Old Age Psychiatry, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, London, UK)

Advances in Dual Diagnosis

ISSN: 1757-0972

Article publication date: 21 November 2016




The assessment of cognitive impairment in community services for older people remains under-explored. The paper aims to discuss this issue.


Cognitive impairment was examined in 25 people aged 65 and over with alcohol use disorders, on the caseload of community mental health services over a six-month period. All subjects assessed using Addenbrooke’s Cognitive Assessment (ACE-III).


In total, 76 per cent of the group scored below the cut-off point for likely dementia but only 45 per cent of people scored below the cut-off point for tests of language, compared with 68-84 per cent people in other domains.

Research limitations/implications

This finding has implications for the detection of alcohol-related brain cognitive impairment in clinical settings.

Practical implications

Standardised cognitive testing is common within mental health services for older people, but may also have utility within addiction services.

Social implications

The early detection of alcohol-related cognitive impairment can improve social outcomes in both drinking behaviour and the social consequences of alcohol-related dementia.


This may be the first published study of cognitive impairment in patients under a mental team for older people with alcohol use disorders and offers some unique findings within this sampling frame.



Rao, R. (2016), "Cognitive impairment in older people with alcohol use disorders in a UK community mental health service", Advances in Dual Diagnosis, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 154-158.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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