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Cognitive functioning in severe somatization – a pilot study


Dr Päivi M. Niemi, Department of Psychiatry, University of Turku, Finland, Kunnallissairaalantie 20, FIN-20700 Turku, Finland


Objective:  Somatizing patients often report cognitive complaints but neuropsychological research on somatization is scarce. We investigated somatizing patients for functioning in different cognitive domains.

Method:  Ten female patients with somatization disorder or undifferentiated somatoform disorder and 10 non-somatizing controls participated in neuropsychological examinations.

Results:  The patients performed at a lower level than the controls in tests involving semantic memory, verbal episodic memory and visuo-spatial tasks, and were slower in attentional tasks.

Conclusion:  Somatization patients may suffer from substantial problems in cognitive performance.