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  • Cited by 8
  • Print publication year: 2000
  • Online publication date: January 2010

18 - Functional memory complaints: hypochondria and disorganization

from Part III


This chapter reviews the clinical features of memory complaints in subjects with no objective memory deficits, and reports in the said group the existence of two syndromes. It suggests a model to explain the 'functional cognitive disorganization' syndrome, and proposes a new way (echoing model) to understand complaints (including memory ones). Research into the concept of memory complaint is beset with conceptual difficulties. In a medical context, 'complaint' refers to utterances conveying negative personal assessments with regard to the functioning and efficacy of a bodily or mental function. The two syndromes are called 'mnestic hypochondria' (seen predominantly in bright, well-educated, obsessional males, with high-achievement motivation, no attentional deficit and marked anxiety) and the 'functional cognitive disorganization' syndrome (seen predominantly in females with low education and intelligence, low anxiety, and chronically dependent upon relevant others for the organization of their cognitive environment).