n South African Journal of Psychiatry - Neuropsychological evidence for subjective memory complaints in the neurologically well individual

Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1608-9685
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6786



<I>Background.</I> Subjective memory and concentration difficulties are frequently expressed in modern society and, if sufficiently worrying, may elicit a medical consultation for elucidation. When a clear explanation cannot be given, a neuropsychological assessment may be a useful tool. <br><I>Method.</I> The present naturalistic study recruited 20 patients who reported cognitive difficulties for which a medical explanation could not be found. Each subject underwent a clinical interview and neuropsychological assessment in order to identify the nature and severity of the problem, and to identify a possible cause of these complaints. <br><I>Results.</I> Several possible explanations were documented but mood disturbance was considered the most likely reason for the identified cognitive difficulties. <br><I>Limitations.</I> This was a naturalistic study with a specific sample, and consequently generalisability may be reduced. <br><I>Conclusion.</I> Even in episodes of mild depression cognitive difficulties occur that may be presented to neurologists rather than psychiatrists. In such instances the patient is at risk of not receiving the appropriate treatment for his or her mood disorder.

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